Similar to the rest of the world, I’ve been trying to process the current political climate. There are so many horror stories of innocent lives being taken away, with limited consequences for the murderers. It all seems like an intense movie plot; but it’s reality. Real people suffer every single day. To be honest, it irks me that there are people out there, totally unbothered by this. How can they not care? Just because it doesn’t impact them or their loved ones? I’ve thought a lot about “what can I do?”. I am not a very influential person, but I do have a lot of influence over one specific, tiny human.
When you have a kid, you can’t help but imagine what they’ll be like when they grow up. Of all the qualities, for me, I want my son to grow up to be empathetic. I want him to care about people, whether he knows them or not, and be smart and confident enough to stand up for himself and others. I want him to make others feel included, stand up to bullies, and be able to communicate intelligently and calmly. I want him to talk about the hard topics, even if it feels awkward, because he knows it’s the right thing to do. I don’t care what job he picks, who he marries, or how much money he makes. I just want him to be a good human, an d it’s my job to raise him to be just that.
So how do I accomplish this? My son is just a year old, so what are the things I can do to start instilling these values into him? I am absolutely not an expert, but after reading and brainstorming, I have to set myself goals for the next year. Every year moving forward, I want to build more on these goals.
Instill Self Confidence through Words of Affirmation: I believe that all the good qualities I mentioned earlier, start with a person feeling confident in themselves. As my son learns to speak, I want to say positive words of affirmation so they stay with him. I want the positive words to relate to his good behavior, as well as culture, religion, and family background. I want him to be proud of where he comes from and who he is. I want him to be confident when he does the right thing.
Diversify Our Friend Group: I want to make an effort to join play groups (if necessary, virtual), and make a conscious effort to befriend friends of different ethnic backgrounds and religions. Ultimately, I want my son to recognize race, understand the realities race comes with, but love people for who they are in the inside and recognize how many similarities humans have with each other.
Read meaningful books: When we read books to our son, his eyes are glued to the pages. They are absorbing EVERYTHING right now. So what better time to invest in book with substantive (but kid-friendly) information. I want him to learn all about the religion our family follows, but I want him to read plenty of books on other religions as well. I want him to know about the culture from my parents motherland country; but I want him to know about other cultures as well. I want to use books and story time to educate our son that the world is so much bigger than just what we live.
Reading the stories of the people impacted, watching the news, and seeing all the posts/stories on social media has been heart wrenching lately. But as much as it hurts, I don’t want to look away and pretend like it’s not happening; because there are just too many people in the world who do not have that privilege. And similarly, I want to raise my son to never look away. #BlackLivesMatter
What are the main values you hope to raise your child with? And what are the small action items you hope to get to those values? Comment below!