As the first month of 2017 comes to an end, I realise for the most part, January has been all about letting go for me. As my two kiddos, now teenagers, step fearlessly toward their new found independence on their way to adulthood, I’m trying to step out of their way. For me letting go isn’t coming easy, there are shit people in the world, that’s a fact, and this sometimes makes it tricky to focus on the positive, even for me. I can only hope we have given them all they need to navigate a grown up world, where not everyone behaves like grown ups.
I am constantly reminded by conventional and social media, that many of the shit people out there are men, and with the newly elected president of the United States taking office this month, this message has been loud and clear across all media. Even so, I don’t want my son to think he is going to automatically become a shit human being as a man because he is male. That’s simply not true because he is good and kind, just like his father, and he deserves to grow up knowing that men are good people too, as does his sister. I have been lucky to be surrounded by good men my entire life; in both my immediate and extended family, among my friends, and many of those I come into contact with everyday in our community. Its men like them who I want my son to be and my daughter to know.
So how do we raise good men and women? And why am I thinking about this now?
The why is easy! As I touched on above, my kids are now apart of a bigger world, one that they neither want nor feel they need me at arm’s length to help them make good decisions, it’s time for me to make some room around them, and allow them to grow. I know their choices won’t always be the same as those I would make for them. They will make them anyway and I can only hope they will be the right choices for them. I will be there to support them either way.
As they move out into the world, here are just a few things I hope they keep in mind:
- They are good, kind, loving and strong people and they deserves to have only good, kind, loving and strong men and women in their lives – Don’t settle!
- How to not only say: I won’t take shit from anyone,(no matter who you are, male or female) but also: I am strong enough to be in this world solo. If someday I meet someone who will walk beside me, that will be fabulous – Know yourself, trust in you.
- That they are growing up in a world of opportunity; their lives will be made up of the choices they make –Your choices will create the circumstance you live with.
- How to empower themselves with tools to be strong, loving, independent and respectful human beings who have the ability to make good choices – Take responsibility for yourself.
- Sometimes luck won’t be on your side, life can get difficult without reason or explanation – Make the most of what you have; you have what it takes to rise above. Be amazing!
- Dream big, have fun, be self sufficient and resilient, live authentically, be yourself and pursue happiness always– Your life will be what You make it
The how – not so easy! How do we raise good men? How do we raise good women? I’m not really sure; mine are still a work in progress. Maybe we don’t try; maybe we put all that we have into raising good human beings and in doing so we show our sons and daughters that we have faith in them and the knowledge that they will be good men and women. Maybe, simply spending time with our children, setting a good example, showing them their value and investing in their humanity will do it.
As we teach our boys that it is ok to have a gentler side and our girls that it is ok to have a stronger one, hopefully we allow them to embrace their differences and similarities. It can be difficult to live in a world where we are all constantly pitted against each other; gender, race, ability, social standing, lifestyle, choices – the list goes on. Yet, in that world my husband and I are raising twins, a boy and a girl. As young teenagers neither is the weaker or stronger sex: socially, mentally or emotionally. So when and how does that separation begin? And are we all responsible when/if it does?
My hope is, however it begins, in a world where many find it difficult to understand anything that is different from their own normal, for my son and daughter – it will end with them having the same wonderful qualities all good human beings have, and that they will always know that being different from each other, and the people who surround them, doesn’t make them better or worse, stronger or weaker – it simply makes them different.
Being a part of creating the next generation is a privilege I don’t want to get wrong!