So I was going through an old journal a couple weeks ago and I found this little gem. It was an entry written sometime in the 9 month (40 week) span between Halloween (the day my wife told me she was pregnant) and the 4th of July (when our son bulldozed his way out the womb) in 2007. In this entry I wrote down five things I wanted to teach our child (and any future children that might come along. I obviously wrote this before I had any children of my own.
The first lesson I wrote was “Live without regret”. That’s impossible. Kids don’t know what regret is until it’s too late. If I knew what regret was when I was kid I would never have stuck my head in that cinder block. Or rode my bike to the park and walked home because I forgot I rode my bike there. Or gotten a hold of a can of white paint and painted my bike, a newspaper to the floor and a window shut.
I could use a lesson on this myself. How am I to teach it to my kids?
The second thing I wrote was “Treat others with the same respect as you treat yourself”. Ideally I want them to be kind to everyone regardless of how inconsiderate, rude and mean others can be. Except to his brother. In that case they are free to hit and scream and shove and throw things at each other. Especially if it’s because his brother is dancing, singing or just looking at him.
The third thing was “Try new things”. HA When it comes to food they’ve ended up too much like me. If they don’t like the look of it or the smell of it (hell, sometimes even just the sound of it) they won’t go near it. I want them to play many sports, many instruments, study many subjects, travel many places, etc… I didn’t mean try to put water in the sippy cup with the lid still on it. I didn’t mean try doing cannonballs in the bathtub (thereby emptying the tub onto the floor). I didn’t mean try to turn into a puppy when you turn five so you could poop in the yard with the dog. (Crash told that one to his grandmother)( Correction: Crash asked his mother if he could poop in the yard when he turned into a puppy at age 5. I told him, by all means, if you turn into a puppy at age 5 he was more than welcome to poop in the yard like Nana and PopPop’s puppies, until then he was going to poop in the toilet like the rest of us human folk.)
The forth one was probably the funniest.
4) Listen to your parents. We know what we’re talking about. However, sometimes we won’t know the answer. In that case your mother may say “I don’t know” while I’ll make up something believable. Want to know where eggs come from? Easy. The store. Though the store gets them chickens (and that’s the truth!) Want to know what that thing is between your legs? That’s your penis (we’ll call your pee pee for now though). Those are questions I can easily answer. Want to know how babies get in mommies bellies? Your mom knows the answer to that one. I also wrote about them coming to us for advice and following our rules. We’ll see how that goes.
The fifth and last one was “Use your imagination”. Mother Teresa said that it takes hours, days, weeks, years even, to create something yet only seconds to destroy it. Create anyway. My children are the embodiment of that quote. Crash or myself or mom will create something. Whether it is a tower of blocks or a clean house it will be destroyed. That clean floor is begging to have a cup of goldfish dumped on it and then danced on (tonight however, it was a box of spaghetti). I was going to see how many blocks high I could stack – I never made it past 12 because they would get wacked (though the squeals of laughter made it worth building several more times). Their imaginations are fully functional so I know I’ve gotten this one right. Bang loves to pretend that dust bunnies are bugs. He’ll blow them across the floor and then run and scream that the bug is going to get his toes. Crash has taken to making up and writing stories (sometimes acting them out when the mood fits). Bang will often draw “pictures” of arm pits and basketballs.
So those were the lessons I had intentions of teaching our kids before we had kids. For now I’ll leave you with this link to one of my favorite prints by one of my favorite artists who seems to know about having kids… Brian Andreas This print hangs in our living room.