There is not a single day when I don’t think about how to bring up my son, what example to set, what values to instil, what interests and talents to nourish. My choices will affect him. My choices are affecting him already.
I’m giving him a lot of freedom and I see a very curious and independent boy developing before my eyes. I talk a lot to him and I see a willing communicator emerging. I cook for him and as he stirs the pots and smells the food on the stoves I can tell that the love of cooking has been awakened in him. But I also see a boy who finds it hard to fall asleep without one of his parents next to him (because making him fall asleep in the cot was just too hard for us), a boy who demands Peppa Pig just after his dinner (because it’s much easier for his parents to clean up when the computer is on), a boy who doesn’t always take no as an answer and is very willing to explain his reasons for doing things and negotiate his rights (and he’s not even two yet… oh, long disputes before us). So I am observing and I am wondering about the future… about the years that I have with my child… about those often fleeting hours during which I can make a difference to how he sees the world… to how he understands it… to how he engages with it.
Often I get overwhelmed and confused at what I should be doing, often I just want to leave things to take their own course and just simply go about our daily life and most often this is the best option but not always… not always.
There are things that need to be shown to our children. There are things that must be experienced and made tangible. There are values that we must impress upon them and we must make an effort to do it. There are habits that we must develop. This is what parental guidance is. Parental guidance is not only about the cuddles before the sleep, it’s also about attending to the much hated habit of brushing teeth after dinner, it’s about saying no when the need arises, it’s about teaching “I’m sorry” and “Thank you” and it’s about switching off the TV after 20 minutes because it’s time for bed. It’s about those small things.. and the big ones too like hard-work, tolerance, patience, caring, perseverance, love. This is how we secure their future… by attending to seemingly insignificant details in life, to their values and to their characters.
When adults talk about securing their children future, they mean money. They always do, as if money was the ultimate gift – the antidote to insecurities, the best problem-solving tool. I feel sorry for the child for whom this is actually the truth as that means that they got themselves into debt while still playing in the sandpit…. gambling with stones, the bucket and the spade, I imagine.
Children don’t need money in their sandpits. They already have the tools and skills to feel secure. Let’s not push money and stuff down their throats telling them that they need goods to feel happy, to engage with the world and to solve their problems. The world is theirs already. The grass. The trees. The bread. The honey. The sea. It is theirs.
I want to go deeper than the price tag. Not to ignore it but to see beyond it. Because there is life beyond the price tag. Real people that touch the Earth and its gifts and creations, tangible processes and experiences, hands that work, knees that bend, heads that drop, eyes that inspect, fingers that pick. For there is life beyond the price tag, real people that touch the Earth.
Honey is not only something that can be bought for £4.15 a jar in a local supermarket. I want my son to have the awareness of this, of how it’s made and where it comes from. I want him to get the story behind the jar. To see busy bees on flowers, beehives, honeycombs, and the bee-keepers and their veiled hats. It is my duty as a parent to help my son to see and understand this. To sow the grass with him. To plant the tree with him. To make bread together and to show him a beehive. To take him to the seaside, to see a boat, fish, nets and the fisherman. For this is life.
Security comes from a firm standing on the ground, from a firm understanding of who we are and where we belong to… and we belong here – to this world, to this Earth. I want my son to touch it. To see it. To live with it. To understand that the Earth is his and that he is its.
Back to writing earlier than expected. :) Hope you’ve enjoyed this post. x