Since my son started school, I have had a little chuckle at his library book choices every Monday night. The three year old chose a book about a fat pig mom who just ends up eating the cake in the end, a science encyclopedia, a Stanley cup hockey cup book and the latest one was a book all about fire.
The fire book caught me off guard as fires are currently ripping through california and we’re sitting here reading about how cool they are and how he wants to ride in a fire truck, all while families are losing their homes. It was at that moment I got stuck in one of those parenting conundrums, my favourite, a do I or don’t I, teaching moment.
My 3 year old and 2 year old love running around the house and shooting monsters in dark rooms with their hands formed into guns or pretend shooting the already dead bucks on our wall, then we turn on the news and there’s been another school shooting from a kid grabbing a gun.
At what point is this all so wrong and do I hope that they are being steered in the right direction, without having to crush their little hearts BUT preparing them for life? That guns are fun to pretend with but real ones aren’t toys and the idea of fires are cool but they can destroy homes and ruin whole towns.
I don’t want my kids sheltered from life! If they think everything is sunshine and rainbows then when a storm moves in, how will they ever know how to survive in that rain? How will they learn resiliency? How will they ever learn to cope or heal or deal?
I absolutely do not wish hurt on my children but when do I show them a glimpse of the real world and not shelter their minds from it.
Don’t we all just want them to survive and thrive but at the same time want to preserve their innocence for as long as possible? When does this scale tip?
I heard an elderly lady say the other day that they were glad they were preparing to leave this world and not coming into it and this hurt my heart! Not to mention it put a lot of doom over the fact that I have to try and raise two little boys in this world that they just recently entered into and someone who was probably raised shortly after the depression is happy to leave it.
We can argue all day over millennials vs generation X’s vs baby boomers vs the silent generation and who actually ruined our world but is that really going to change anything?
The global warming, the shootings, the orange, racist, misogynistic presidents, the divorcing epidemic, the technology, the fixation with social media, the bullying, the lack of respect, the deterioration of work ethic, the chemicals, the cancer, the reproductive issues, etc., etc. Welcome kids!
If only we could actually have little crystal balls that would show us a glimpse of what our kids will become. Is there really going to be no world left for them by the time they’re 50? I mean, parenting would be a lot easier if that were the case, however; I’d like to think I’m parenting day in and day out in the hopes that our children will turn the world around or at least be able to thrive in it!
They need to learn surviving skills and coping skills, and thriving skills for when they actually learn that ice cream and poutine make you fat and that friendships don’t always last, things don’t always go the “right” way, sometimes you lose, sometimes you’re not the best, sometimes family sucks, and sometimes you don’t end up getting extra bag fries at the bottom of your McDonald’s bag.
So let’s just throw our child’s bowl of cereal on the ground every once in a while, let’s not give them their favourite snack when they ask and not put on their favourite show at their beck and call for the 15th time that day. See how they react? Did they lose their mind? Did they explode? Did they bounce back? Probably, but that’s good, that is life! Teach them to jump back up! Teach them to clean it up. Teach them to settle with a new show that turns out to be even better than the old one.
Now, I have not been qualified to hand out this ridiculous parenting advice but I truly, truly believe in this and I believe it takes a village. And I love my children’s village we’ve built for them so far and want them to be around this village for years and years to come, but if that’s not the case, and they end up somewhere else in the world, then they better be the mother effin’ leader of that new village and then I know I’ve done my job!
And if not, well then I at least just hope that their big minds will be able to handle a messed up meal, traffic in the afternoon, a loss of a baseball game or a sudden change of plans, without a toddler sized tantrum!