Each post in this strand this month will be based on a sweet little book (with some very big messages) that I received last year as a gift from a dear friend. It is titled, believe. The book's elegantly simple design (by Jessica Phoenix) is a gift in itself – lovely to hold and behold. The authors are Dan Zadra and Kobi Yamada; the work has been edited by Kristel Wills. The quotations come from many brilliant souls.
Children will learn so many things – both large and small, as they participate in school and other activities through the years. We are fortunate to have so many excellent and caring teachers and others doing good work with kids in our midst, but it is parents who are "in the thick of it" day in and day out (and night in and night out, right?).
I worry that parents expect themselves to be perfect. (I have good reason to worry about this, since I'm simultaneously concerned about my own lack of perfection as a parent - I wonder when that will stop!)
Despite the fact that we can't be perfect parents (and it wouldn't even be a good idea), I truly believe that when we do the best that we can to demonstrate some of the bigger principles in life for our kids – just by the ways in which we talk and live, ourselves – everything will mostly work out.
So, here are a few big ideas for this week, from believe:
Believe in fresh starts and new beginnings.
"The capacity for hope is the most significant fact of life. It provides human beings with a sense of destination and the energy to get started." (Norman Cousins)
When we make a mistake (or our kids do), we can say something like, "Well, we'll have another chance at that tomorrow!" (or in a minute, etc.)
Believe in doing the right thing because it's right.
"Look the world straight in the eye." (Helen Keller)
When we spend the time and energy to take the extra steps necessary to use the crosswalk, cheerfully return the item pocketed by someone too young to know better, or correct a cashier who undercharges us – we show our kids that it's a simple pleasure to do the right thing. (Hmmm … from where, I wonder, do these examples come? From past mistakes, of course!)
Believe you can make a difference.
"We won't always know whose lives we touched and made better for our having cared, because actions can sometimes have unforeseen ramifications. What's important is that you do care and you act." (Charlotte Lunsford)
We have so, so many opportunities as the years go by to let our kids simply observe us saying and doing kind things – when we don't even think they're watching. Of course, we also have lots of opportunities (and a great deal of responsibility) to talk with them directly about how to be kind to classmates and others – in person and online. The very most effective way to raise nice kids, I'm sure, is to be nice people, ourselves. When we have a lapse, we can say something like, "Next time, I'm going to try to say something like …. in a situation like that." (I see that we've come full circle – right back to the first believe idea!)
Be as patient with yourself as you want to be with your children, right? And . . . believe!