So I know I’ve been in a mother-figure role for the last 14 years, but since I had my boys I have come to realize how impressionable the young minds of children really are from the moment they are born.
Now at the ages of 5 and 2, nothing gets past these two. And I mean NOTHING!
Any time a foul word may accidentally get uttered from one of our mouths, my two-year-old is quick to repeat it the best he can just because he heard us say it. This usually comes into play more when in the car and tensions are running high, and maybe I spout off something like, “You, stupid moron!” to another driver. (Okay, this is a little tame for me.) I’m usually quick to rethink my words (a little too late though) when I quickly hear “Stupid moron!” come from the backseat.
But they want to be just like us because we are their parents — their first role models. Even down to the fact that I’m always finding my kids walking around clumsily in my shoes or my husband’s shoes, our kids want to do what we do, act like we do, talk like we do, be who we are and literally, walk in our shoes.
So being the example for our kids is one of the most crucial things we can do for our kids.
Is it easy to do 100 percent of the time? Hell no, (ah, I mean) Heck no, and I’ll be the first to say. Absolutely not! Hence, the “You, stupid moron!” coming from the backseat. Because always doing what’s right 100 percent of the time should always be simple, but sometimes it’s just not when you have to deal with too many stupid people in the world.
But doing what’s right is something that is never far from my mind. Because any good parent wants their child or children to be a good person inside and out. You want them to treat people equally, to see everyone as a person not a color or a social class. But too often than not, we ourselves are bogged down by what is right and wrong, fair and unfair and good and bad. But as their first role models and the ones who they carry in their hearts for a majority of their lives, it’s up to us to lead the charge as to the examples we set and the paths we follow to help give them a good outline for the lives they may want to lead. And of course, as parents, we want our children to achieve more, see more, do more (well, this is within reason in some ways) and be the best person they can be. But in order to reach those goals and achieve any accomplishment, children need to understand the hard work, determination, the blood, sweat and tears it takes to really get to many of these places. Because what do you really learn when it’s given to you? Because for the most part, all the opportunities my husband and I have achieved for ourselves and our children have been earned through hard work, long hours, multiple jobs and a whole lot of determination, faith, support and commitment.
And after being a mother to an infant for less than six months, I realized how much babies were like sponges, wanting to soak up as much as they can from the people around them. Their eyes moving furiously to make sure they don’t miss anything. Then when they start moving, it’s about how much can they get into before they just drop from exhaustion because they don’t want to miss anything.
With all the turmoil happening all over the world and even right in our own backyard right now, I fear the type of examples we are setting for future generations. Toddlers and young children holding signs that most of them can’t even read, let alone understand the messages of hate, propaganda and racism that they are holding in their hands. The innocence of childhood is lost when we begin to set examples that lead their highly impressionable minds at such a young age down the paths of racial inequality, hatred, an understanding of the differences in skin color and social class and everything else that makes our society horrible.
The incredible beauty of childhood is that children are born without predetermined hatreds, attitudes, opinions and negativity. Instead they see the world as pure, colorless, innocent and as one world, and as they grow up their unfiltered perceptions of the world are changed because of societies’ views, their parents’ opinions and everything else around them telling them how they should feel, act and react.
Since giving birth to my boys, watching movies like Hunger Games and Divergent are hard for me to stomach because it is not that difficult to think that a future such as these could be possible. It will not be for them, but it could be for their children, their children’s children. Or let’s face it – I don’t want to think of a future for anyone’s children like these scenarios – a society where you are pre-determined at birth what type of life you will lead because of your family’s existing place in society, where aspiring for better is not even a possibility and where thinking for yourself – free thought – is believed to be the downfall of a society.
I hope someday our society as a whole finds the right direction for itself and continues to move forward. Because if we don’t, then we’ll just continue taking ten steps forward and 50 steps back every time.
Rioting in the streets. People getting shot just being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Those who chose to protect and serve our communities each day – the true role models for our children – being prosecuted for the split second decisions they asked to make every single day. Communities being pulled apart. And the rest of us left just trying to make heads or tails of what went wrong and why it just keeps happening.
Having a child is an important choice everyone that should take the time to actually sit down and contemplate before choosing to do because that child could potentially grow up to be the leader of the generation pushing society in the right direction or just another person walking with the crowd in the other direction down the path of least resistance.
But when making the decision, everyone should remember that, “Raising a child is easy,” said no one ever who actually wanted to try to do it right.