Caden and Evie,
There are a bunch of thoughts doing somersaults in my heart and cartwheels in my soul right now and before I forget them, I decided to jot you a future note. I know your little hearts can’t grasp all these sentiments right now, but I don’t want to forget or neglect to share these things with you–to teach you these things–so I’m adding them here for safe-keeping and easy-remembering! And maybe just maybe, some others will be encouraged along the way.
So here goes!
- I am not going to be a hovering, helicopter parent…rescuing you from all the hard and protecting you from all the hurt. Life is going to be hard and it’s going to hurt, so I’m going to make it my goal to help you learn how to maneuver the hard and how to process the hurt. I want to guide you to the ONE who can carry your hard and redeem your hurt. I want to give you tools for working through the hard and being honest about the hurting parts of life. But no, I am not going to try and rescue you from the hard. Which means…I’m not going to call the school and request a different teacher when you’re not with your BFF, and I’m not going to allow you to skip Sunday School just because it’s uncomfortable. I’m just not.
- I am not going to buy you something every time we walk into a store…even if it’s only a small pack of gum. I’m just not. Why? Because you don’t NEED something every time you walk into the store. I want you to know boundaries, self-control, and the value of the dollar and “special things.” I don’t want you to think you “deserve” or are “entitled” to something…to anything…even if it’s “not that much money.” I want you to be content with what you have and thankful for what you do have, and I don’t want you to believe that buying something or having something will increase your joy or bring you contentment. I don’t want you to “buy” into the lie that STUFF MAKES YOU HAPPY. Which means…I might say “no” to a pack of Skittles, or a bottle of cheap bubbles, or to that name-brand pair of shorts that everyone else is wearing. Why? Because money doesn’t grow on trees and even if it did, it wouldn’t bring long-lasting contentment.
- I am not going to lie to you in order to settle your emotions. What do I mean? I mean…I’m not going to tell you that there is “no more ice cream” because I don’t want to have a battle over you not having any. I’m not going to tell you that the small toy “got lost” because I can’t help you navigate how to get rid of old toys. I’m not going to pretend, fake, or lie about things in order to prevent you from feeling the weight of your feelings or of my “no” or my “not now.” Why? Because there is value in learning how to regulate your emotions even when you are presented with a roadblock or a flat-out “no.” Life will not be full of “yes’s,” so I want to prepare you with a healthy set of “no’s” before you start hearing them from outside our home.
- I am not going to tolerate “mean-talk.” What do I mean by “mean-talk?” I mean…I will not tolerate, diminish, excuse, justify, or overlook words that tear down, bully, criticize, generalize, stereotype, or demean another soul. Why? Because there are a million and one ways to healthily disagree with someone else’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors without having to tear down their person, their race, their culture, their actions, and their beliefs. We use our words to build up; we use our words to encourage; and we use our words to breathe life and whisper hope. So when I take the words written in your passed notes, your texts, and spoken in your conversations seriously, please understand that my desire is for you to grow up aware and cognizant of the impact your words have on others. Your tongue is little, but it packs a powerful punch; let your punch be filled with honey.
- I am not going to do everything I can to make your life easy. Which means…I’m not going to clean your toys up for you just because it’s “easier and quicker” for me to do so. I’m not going to buy you a new pair of soccer socks because you misplaced yours. I’m not going to pay you for every chore you do; in fact, I’m not going to pay you for a lot of the chores you will be asked to do. I’m not going to go find your misplaced belonging without you making your own attempt at finding it first. I’m not going to clear your plates from the table every single time. Why? Because there is value in understanding that life requires work, effort, and perseverance. Jobs don’t just “get done;” responsibilities are not “suggestions;” and laziness is not applauded.
- I am not going to make it my life goal to make your lives fun. Though I love to be intentional in making memories with and for you, this is not my number one goal. I love you, and I truly desire to bless your souls (in all kinds of ways), but I am not your personal “fun-maker.” Which means…there is a time for fun and play, and there is a time for doing and working. Life can be filled with fun things like play dates and vacations, but there are a lot of things in life that are not fun; you are going to have to do some of those “not fun” things. I imagine, some day, your boss and maybe even your spouse, will readily agree…and maybe even thank me.
- I am not always going to agree with you and take your side. This does not mean that I won’t love, support, and encourage you; it just means that sometimes I’ll think you’re wrong, and I might even side with someone else. That means that I won’t step in and try to change the coach’s decision even if you don’t like it, and I might not disagree with the teacher’s evaluation of your performance/behavior even if you don’t think it’s fair. I will be your advocate and your cheerleader, but I will not fight your battles, nor demand “special treatment.” I believe you are wonderful and lovely kids, but I will never believe you’re perfect, and I won’t behave like you’re above the consequences and/or superior to the expectations.
And on that note, I will conclude my list of 7ish things that I want to remember to teach you as you grow.
Goodnight and I love you.