As you can see by the photo, there’s not much that I wouldn’t do for my kids. Die for them? C’mon, that’s a given. Kill for them? I think. maybe, yes–given the right situation and reason. I’d rather not EVER be in the right situation with the right reason, if that’s alright with you.
But you know what? There are actually things I won’t do for them.
- I won’t let them ever settle for second best, giving in to the urge not to strive to succeed.
- I won’t let them be rude, to their parents, to each other, to others.
- I won’t let them deflect blame or accept improperly placed punishment.
- I won’t let them cheat: at games, on tests, in life.
- I won’t hand them a win–earning it is so much more satisfying. I remember the first (and likely, last) time I beat my father in Scrabble and the elation and pride I felt. I also remember the first time James beat me in checkers and how thrilled he was. I have practiced being a graceful loser.
- I won’t let them think it’s the norm to get trophies just for showing up.
- I won’t tell them that life’s fair, that good people always come out on top and bad people always get punished.
- I won’t buy them the newest phone, the coolest jeans, the most expensive sneakers.
- I won’t let them go to bed angry or sad or scared. (Well, I actually have, but then I’ve snuck up 5-10 minutes later and made sure neither of us was still angry or sad. Scared is usually of their own doing. They’re on their own.)
Sometimes parenting means having to take the hard line and the unyielding stance, even though it churns up your insides and breaks your heart. As parents, it’s our job to not only prepare our children for the world, but also to not sugarcoat the truth. And the truth is that the world can be cruel. People can, and most likely will, lie and cheat. They may even talk about you behind your back.
But just because other people can be jerks doesn’t mean that Doug and I want to add two more jerks to the world population. Oh no–not on our watch.
Instead, we’re coupling reality with optimism, pointing out the goodness and the generosity. I tell them to give people the benefit of the doubt and show them that it’s always worth extending a helping hand and a kind word. If they’re met with hostility and derision, then nothing ventured, nothing gained. They know where not to waste their breath the next time. But they should never start by assuming the worst or behaving badly..
What won’t I do for my kids? I won’t let them be less than they can be. And I have faith that they can be giants.