I often tell people the reason I hustle so hard is to give my children everything I never had. My childhood wasn’t filled with travel, things or, if I’m honest, a lot of love. Sure, love was in the house, but it wasn’t spoken or shown a lot. There is a difference.
As I think more about it, it’s not the “things” I want my kids to have. It’s the love. Unconditional love. And the fact that I simply want to raise my children to be more than I am. The PERSON I am. Yes, even more than my experiences. I simply want to be able to look at them as adults and be proud of the fact that they are much more than I could have ever imagined.
I want my kids to know love… and to reciprocate it well. When Colby and I were first married, I didn’t know the first thing about showing love to someone. In fact, I was horrible at it. I often tell people that Colby showed me how to love. With my whole heart. To be okay with showing that love and affection in front of the kids. In front of anyone really. It simply wasn’t something I had grown up seeing.
With our kids? Oh, that’s way different. We are part of the “gross your kids out daily” thinking. And we do. Often. As far as can tell from our oldest daughter (who is getting married this year), I think we accomplished teaching this. Pretty sure of it.
But I also want my kids to know compassion. To care about our great big world and the vast number of people in it. Without judgement. Without seeing color, race, lifestyle or religion as a reason to disperse anything but love. There is enough of that. We need more love and compassion toward each other. If we each start in our own home, it makes the world outside those doors easier for everyone. Well, in an Utopian civilization anyways. A girl can dream.
Respect, humility, selflessness, empathy. All of these characteristics are on my ideal list of traits to embed in my kids. The best way I know to teach my kids anything is by setting the example.
Am I perfect in any of these ways? Of course not. But, again, I want them to be more than I am. To make a difference and to be world changers. In order to achieve that goal, I need to be their biggest cheerleader. To show them love and respect. Listen when they talk. Respond when they need it. Be a friend AND a mom as the situation warrants. (Yes, I believe you can successfully be both).
Watching them prosper and thrive as they grow further into adulthood is the reward. Knowing you did your job. You raised them well. Now let them spread their wings and fly into the world with confidence.