It's almost inevitable while you're waiting for your baby to arrive. Friends, family, and perfect strangers shower you (aka bombard you) with all sorts of advice and warnings about the difficulties of life with an infant.
I worried most about raising compassionate and kind children who would grow to be good people.
Not "good" in the sense of "is s/he a 'good' baby?' What does that even mean? Are there 'bad' babies?? Anyway... I digress. Surviving difficult days and sleepless nights with infants turned out to be a far bigger challenge than I ever anticipated (thank goodness for good help!), but the heaviest pressure I still feel is in raising good humans.
On days like today - when our country is ushering in a new president and people all over are both celebrating and mourning alongside one another (and from opposite sides of a seemingly great divide) - I find myself reflecting on my parenting even more. (Especially when my four-year-old comes home from preschool saying things about the day's events I had no idea he was even aware of).
Turns out little pitchers really do have big ears.
Whether we like it or not, our children are watching. And listening. Days like today are a reminder for me that all kids are "good" kids. It's our job as the adults in their lives to show them how also to be good adults.
They depend on us to model compassion, kindness, and justice.
So whether you are celebrating or mourning today, remember this: Our children are watching. Our children are listening. Our words and actions matter and they'll have a lasting impact on the adults they become.
No pressure, right?!
My husband and I have decided to look at this day as a re-birth and opportunity for renewed commitment to consciously and respectfully helping our children grow up to be good humans. We're developing a family vision statement and committing to live by it. We are re-committing to leading by example.
We'll make sure our boys understand their privilege(s) and teach them about being a vocal ally and helping to amplify the voices of marginalized communities.
And when the opportunities present themselves - at the dinner table, at the playground, after a day of school, whenever! - we'll ask questions. We'll listen to their thoughts and feelings.
We'll help them explore their view of themselves and the world around them.
My four-year-old taught me (again) today that he's capable of big feelings and important conversations. I owe it to him to engage.