Photography by Brittani Renee Photography
In teaching, I wanted to be clear about my objectives. Write it on the board, "Students will be able to..." Let them know what our end goal was. No need for mysteries or secret reveals. This is what we want to learn.
I've been thinking a lot about this question that Sara Moore posed to me,
What do you hope your children will learn from you?
In the list of 11 questions that she asked, it was the one that took me the longest to answer. The question made me reflect upon my thoughts on sharing my parenting objectives.
- Do my children know what I want them to learn?
- Do I know what I want them to learn? What is it again?
- Why am I keeping it a secret to be uncovered at a later point?
The question is as deep as it is simple. The whole cycle of parenting involves the activity of what we want our children to learn from us. Our ideals, our beliefs, our dreams become a part of their upbringing. These things "rub off" in our interactions.
Are there other areas and lessons that I want my children to learn that might not come up so naturally?
My husband and I created a family mission statement late one night when my second daughter was an infant. During one of our innumerable sleepless nights with C, we felt like we were veering off course, or, at least, meandering a bit more in our parenting than we wanted. We wrote out these simple statements to remind ourselves of these goals as we changed diapers and soothed teething cries.
Now two of our three children can read, and they can all express themselves quite clearly. They are perceptive; they are good listeners. I wonder how I am communicating these broader and more important family values. To Sara, in her interview, I said:
I hope my children learn that they are always loved by us, their parents, and by a generous God. I hope they learn to go after their passion and to work consistently to point that passion towards the greater Good. I hope they learn that tenacity and enthusiasm can accomplish almost everything you need. I hope they learn to laugh at themselves (a lot) and help other people do the same.
And now I'm feeling challenged to revisit our original statement or post this new one for my children to read. And to remind me, everyday.
What do you think? How do you let your children know what is most important?