mother is god in the eyes of a child

August 26, 2010

i think one of the most interesting concepts in parenting is the ability to create your own reality.  you literally have complete control over what this tiny human will think and believe (at least until adolescence).  we have the opportunity to create a brand new world for them and make it just the way we always imagined– or make it something completely new.

you define what is normal for your family. whatever traditions you create, that child will know nothing else than what is "normal" to them.  so if we don't wear pants at home that'll be completely normal to the jude.  pantsless house?  hells yeah.  i'm not necessarily suggesting that we'll do that, it's just an easy example.

i think most people take this for granted.  this is what you do, this is how you do it, these are the things that are part of childhood.  but it's interesting to me that you're actually choosing to make those things a part of you child's life; whether you're aware of it or not, you do actually have a choice.

for example (again):  kids don't really need birthdays.  you don't have to buy them things, or wrap them in wrapping paper, or have a party or a cake.  if you never do it that will be 100% normal to them for their family (until they get older and go to school and you have to answer the hard questions about why they don't have what tommy has, of course).

or, a more mundane example:  you grew up ridiculously scared of bugs so you decide that you're going to work really hard to not pass that fear on to your child.  you make acceptance of bugs your new normal.  interestingly the concept can apply just as much to crazy radical changes as it can to every day behaviors.

i'm not sure yet what specifically this means for us.  what new traditions are we going to make?  what do we want our new "normal" to be?  what things from our past will we keep and which will we toss aside?  i don't know, i can't answer that yet.

what i do know is that i'm inspired by parents who are doing things off the beaten path.  really inspired, they make me want to parent, to parent better and teach and grow and give– but also to remember that i can do it in my own way.  they make me really stop and think about some of the daily traditions in our children's lives that are generally taken as "required" or something that "everyone" does.  it makes me think that maybe it doesn't have to be the same, over and over.  maybe we can do something different.

i don't know what that different is yet or how we'll find it, but it will be 100% ours.

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Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.
-William Makepeace Thackeray
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