Blogadda has a contest sorts and it’s something along what Ive been ruminating awhile. Something that’s close to my heart and one that iv tossed around and battled occasionally, but at the end of the day, something else comes along and assures me that I am not doing bad at all.
On a bad, down day when my mind is filled with doubts about my own paths, am pretty convinced I must do things differently so my own children will not ever be where I am.
On a fabulous day when the sun is shining bright, I am the happiest mother there is on planet earth.
So what is it that I think are the 5 things that we can gift our child for a better brighter future? Here’s my list, in no particular order.
Give your child the BEST education you can afford.
Hands down the biggest gift one can give a child is education. Knowledge and the power of education through a standardized curriculum and a standing in the world. Yes, there are breakthrough fairly successful folks that make it without much of an education, but those are outliers and ones who have something else strong enough to offset the rest of us. Education is the crutch and the roof that one could always use and one that can never go wasted. No one can steal knowledge. Once the kid has it, the kid has it.
My dad worked very hard to put me through a private school and college (and he stretched ends to meet tuition) and I am the prouder for it. No one can ever take that schooling from me and that’s a yardstick I will live by.
Self-reliance, confidence, integrity and assuredness.
This is a tricky one, one that isn’t immediate, quick or fast. It takes years and every moment in each of those years count. As a parent we will make horrendous lousy regrettable mistakes. You will trudge on, coz you do not have a choice. You will use your head, your experience, your neighbor or your brother or your friend’s experience and ways of knowing which way to go.
When would you be able to open this package and hand it off? No one really knows. Sometimes it happens sometime as a teenager, sometimes it’s when they walk into the sunset with their significant other, sometimes it can be during their first presentation at work, sometimes you will never ever realize but one day, they will smile back at you as they go about doing their thing and you will have tears in your eyes and that will be it.
I am not entirely sure if this is something that can be given or taught, but something tells me we must try. How? By practice. They must see it in action (the onus is on the parent more than you would like to admit) in and around them. So how do we get this quality in our children. By practicing kindness.
In speech in how we talk to our loved ones and especially with strangers. In action when we stop in our busy days and helping someone with direction, a hand, or a kind word. In volunteering an hour, a day or what one can afford with an organization or a passion close to your heart. In stopping to pause and put yourself in shoes of the less fortunate. In donating time and tangibles and allowing our children to see us in our vulnerable moments, that it is a way of life and that’s perhaps maybe one of the reasons we have been sent down to earth.
One day they will unwrap it themselves, and you will know when you son darts forward at the parking lot to help an old lady with her groceries, when your 8 year old starts crying seeing an ASPCA advertisement on why some people are cruel to animals, and when your 18 year old who barely makes $50 a week on her part time gig writes off a check to help a child in India for her education. That’s when you know that maybe that gift has reached its place after all.
To give the gift of the love of travel and of wanting to see new places, cultures and food.
My dad forced me, initially, to learn French. I never could wrap my head around why I had to learn French when my destination was United States. I did it for his sakes the first summer at Alliance Francaise. The next course I did it for me and then the next an then the next. By the time I knew, I had a pre-diplome. It cost my dad, but I love dthe language. I dreamed of Paris. I dreamed of the South of France, of eating baguettes and tomatoes, of having red wine and cheese, and I dreamed of a lover who would hold my hand as I take the cruise along the Seine. That’s what language does to you. It allows you to dream, to have goals, to be ambitious and that will spur a new fascination, respect and love for a new culture. It opens up your eyes and makes you more tolerant, bringing in new perspectives and a fresh outlook. It opens p opportunities to further careers, to see the fabulous things that travel can bring you.
Encourage your children to travel, to be open to languages, to appreciate what makes our world and to allow yourself to fall in love with this beautiful world we live in. Once they travel, and they come home, i promise you, they will change just a bit. The change will be beautiful, permanent and welcoming.
How does one gift family? By the ties. By the bonds that you as a parent will have to sometimes actively create. By knowing that you function as a team, by the way you look out for each other and by practice and example, by allowing others outside of immediate legal or blood relation to also become family (if you are fortunate enough)
Parents cannot last forever. I will not be here forever. My children will need family as they grow older and they will need a few bonds and some more so they inherit what you give while they go make their own. Family will be the gift that gives them their first identity and as they add on more, your gift only grows, in quality and quantity.
So those are the 5 gifts I’d like to give my children and am halfway there I guess. Money will come and money will go, but without the strength of character and the bonds that surround them, money is really number in the bank. Get most of this down and the kids will find their resources, the right way.