I believe. I believe in right and wrong. I believe that hard work matters in the end. I believe that it’s important to know what we’re putting in our bodies. I believe it’s important to stand up for what I believe in. I believe in treating people the way I want to be treated. I believe in telling the truth. I believe spending time with family and friends is important. I believe in the value of education. I believe in sports superstitions. I believe in saving money where I can, in being frugal without being cheap – and that there is a difference.
And I want the wee ones to believe, too. I want them to believe in this and in so much more.
As a parent, this is one of our toughest jobs. How do we pass on our beliefs to our children such that they become ingrained in them, something that they simply know. We can’t just lecture them, as that quickly gets old. Talk is cheap, anyway. I know we need to model what we believe, live it and breathe it, but that doesn’t guarantee that our children will absorb those beliefs automatically. There isn’t a magic wand or a simple booklet that lays out steps one through twenty-seven for how to get our children to grow up with our beliefs.
Part of growing up is learning to think independently and decide what you will reject from your upbringing and what you will incorporate going forward. And that fits in nicely with my belief in standing up for what you believe in. Except that I hope and pray that the wee ones end up believing what I want them to believe.
And so I talk about things that are yucky – about how I really hope they never smoke because it smells so bad and is gross and costs a lot of money and will make you old before your time and you’ll get sick from it and all the other arguments I can possibly marshal. And they will never see me smoke, not because I hide it from them like some of my friends, but because I simply don’t smoke. And then I cross my fingers and make a wish on the first star I see at night and then just hope and pray that something sticks.
I do the same with hard work. We talk about how hard something was but then how awesome it felt once they finished it or figured it out. I let them see me working hard and how I deal with my frustration in those situations. I talk about other people I see who have had to work hard in life to get where they are and how happy they are because of it. This is an important lesson for me to impart because so much of my life was too was too easy. I had too much handed to me, and when I finally had to work hard, I didn’t know how. And I didn’t want to. It was a hard lesson to learn, and I do all I can to ensure that the wee ones learn it early.
And so it goes. My list is fluid and never-ending, and the how’s and why’s are always changing, too. There’s something I want from you, though. I want to know:
What do you believe in?
In the interest of full disclosure, this post was inspired by the book “Julia’s Child” by Sarah Pinneo as part of the From Left to Write book club where we write posts inspired by books rather than actual book reviews. I received a copy of the book for review purposes but was not compensated. As always, all opinions expressed remain my own.