"While we try to teach our children all about life. Our children teach us what life is all about."
--- Angela Schwindt
To my sister,
As you prepare to be entrusted with a beautiful soul to care for and love, whether it be for a moment, a month, a year, a life... please savour every moment fully and open yourself up to the ride of your life. Here is some of what I've learned from having watched, listened, hurt, struggled and more than anything --- by being loved so fully, so unconditionally, in the special way that only a child can love you.
Your child will teach you that at first you are their world. They need you and only you, not the TV, not the magazines, not Google, not the mothers or the forever chiming in critics around you no one but you and your gut instinct knows what is better for that child. Learn to tap into that and trust it. You will never be wrong.
Your child will teach you that they persevere. They don't give up on learning how to walk because they fall, and they absolutely fall again and again, but they just get up and do it again. The only reason a child might hesitate is because an ignorant adult is feeding that child with his fears and emotions. So watch them; we can learn to not take no for an answer when something means the world to us, making us stronger at the end.
Your child will teach you that sometimes words are not needed; just placing your sticky, chubby fingers and arms around a frustrated person and hugging them tight can be win-win situation. It melts the heart of the person you're doing it to and it makes you feel pretty darn good too.
Your child will teach you that they are a sponge and a sounding board. What you say and what you do sticks to them like a nail to a magnet... and will then be thrown right back your way.
I don't believe that it means that we have to calculate what we say and do for the sake of the child, I think it means that in every word spoken, every action taken around that child, we should try to be loving, compassionate, authentic and human... This might mean just practising that way of being more and more each day with ourselves and everyone else so it comes naturally.
Cutting words hurt adults badly, especially if it reaches the core of who they are and reminds them of situations from way back when, but cutting words spoken to a child will create a crack in their selves that you can hear from miles away if you really listen, and that you can see in their eyes when it happens. That is a great tragedy.
Children teach you that you were once a child. Although you had parents that did their best to raise you, you are now a parent and have the ability to choose your course of action, not necessarily repeat history just because it is all you know.
All kids deserve to be taught how to exist in this world, how to have needed boundaries but they also have the absolute fundamental right to know from day one that they are beautiful just the way they are. Their differences are what makes them unique. They have gifts and talents that they should share, not hide, and they have a very real place in this world and more importantly in your heart forever more.
But most importantly, I would say, is that a child teaches you how to best be yourself. They are unconcerned by how things might look, will sing at the top of their lungs and couldn't care less if they look foolish, and truly live in the moment rejoicing, sometimes just staring at their hands without a care in the world. I think we can most benefit from paying very close attention, then snapping out of our own conditioning, to be a little more like them.
I write this because I feel it. I have not nor do I follow all these guidelines all the time, so know that sometimes you'll waver but having let the awareness in, I now realize how important what I do and say to that child is in the grander scheme of things so I work every day on letting go of the control I've been so used to, to laugh more, to play more, to be more open, to be more there, to watch more and listen more. That is all we can do.
I am always here for you should you need it, not as a critic, but as a fellow mom whose been there and will be able to listen and hopefully know when I can help and when I just need to put my arms around you, hold you tight and tell you that it's all going to be just fine!
I love you!
Copyright © 2011 Claudia Pornaro
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