Having kids isn’t easy. Watching them come into the world. We start off with big hopes and dreams for them. We are seeing them grow up so fast and those big hopes and dreams seem to change from day to day. One day you see them as successful doctors (my crazy wife still holds hope they will be renowned plastic surgeons and she can be their testing ground). The next month, you only want them to be healthy forever as they sniffle and sob their way through a bad flu. A year later, you see them helping a friend or animal that is hurt and you want them to become someone who will make this world a better place.
Now, the latter one with my youngest may be a much bigger dream considering that she is 2 years old and her one mission in life is to torment her 6 year old sister. She endlessly chases her through the house just to hear her older sister screech and yell “Baba, Mackenzie is touching me!” “Momma, Mackenzie is hitting me!” and behind her the little one with an evil grin that quickly turns into an angelic smile the moment she sees a ‘grown up’ throws up her arms and says “Baba, Fafa push!” (‘Fafa’ is what she calls her sister and push means she thinks Fafa pushed her which is rarely the case or it was a very mild form of self defence).
In 2 years, those hopes and dreams have changed on a daily basis. From what we thought would be this quiet and calm baby that arrived after only being ‘4 months pregnant’ (see below), changed into what we continually hope and dream that she will not be a professional boxer or a serial killer (or both).
Last month, I had the pleasure of attending another of the #WhatWorksDubai conferences that the awesome people at #KHDA (The Knowledge and Human Development Authority of Dubai ) put on.
One of the sessions I attended talked about 3 things with kids and although it was more specific to education and teaching, it completely made sense to me when it comes to raising our kids (no matter what they end up becoming).
We Can listen, structure, educate, support and love our children from day 1. We have one and only one opportunity to create trust with our children that they will see as us trying to to be all of the above. And the fact that it’s a choice to do these things – We Can provide them with an environment that not only helps them when they are sick but that We Can help them when they need guidance and love.
We Must not only do all of the above, We Must provide a place of safety and comfort. We Must provide them the opportunity no matter what our circumstances, location, financial status, family drama or whatever, to have an education. We Must give them a chance to succeed regardless of the situation we are in.
We Should find the time to help our children succeed. We Should give them 10 minutes (atleast) of reading time every day (#YearOfReading and #RMRUAE). We Should spend that Saturday afternoon sitting out in the garden and helping with some homework before the school week starts. We Should never forget that our love and support is what they see in the morning and at night. If we cannot provide that for them, We Should not have kids. We Should put our children first above and beyond another night out for Shisha or that 6th day at the gym that can easily be cut to 5. We Should ease up on the tech-time and use it for time together.
All of this sounds like a whole lot of instructions. But, there is a pretty good chance you are already doing this now without even realising it. Think about your last few days. Think about how old your kids are – even if they are babies – we still get the chance to show them all of the above. And, if you aren’t doing it now, start with those 10 minutes.
Think back to how you felt when your parents spent time with you – really spent time with you doing something. How proud you felt? How confident you felt to take on something new? How special you were to have time with them?
We have that opportunity and for me – the last several months has really changed my parenting ideas toward a more forward way of thinking. Knowing that even if they become plastic surgeons or politicians (my wife will probably now say that with the US elections coming up, our 2 year old may very well be the most fitting candidate), We Can, We Must and We Should say that we played a part in whatever they become.
Use the chances. Spread that love in whatever way you know how that can put them feeling positive about themselves and about the world out there. Before you know it, that ability to mould them as much as possible into amazing human beings might have less and less of an effect.
And whatever you do, if you see my 2 year old chasing my 6 year old, please run and get me!