Dear Mom and Dad, please be consistent with me. Then I can learn to trust your words. Please take responsibility for all your feelings and actions. Then I won’t blame others. Please hug me and tell me that you care about me. Then I’ll feel lovable and express caring to others.
I found the following words and felt that during this season of gift giving, we might dig deep into our hearts to give our children the most precious gifts of all, as they are written below:
Dear Mom and Dad,
Please be consistent with me. Then I can learn to trust your words and actions.
Please comfort me when I am scared, hurt or sad. Then I’ll know that I am OK.
Please take responsibility for all your feelings and actions. Then I won’t blame others, and I’ll take responsibility for my life.
Please communicate when you feel hurt or disappointed or when you’re angry with me. Then I’ll feel I’m a good enough person and I’ll learn how to constructively deal with my feelings.
Please tell me clearly and specifically what you want. Then I can hear you and I’ll also know how to communicate my needs in a positive way.
Please express to me that I am OK, even when my words or my behavior may not be. Then I can learn from my mistakes and have high self-esteem.
Please balance your life between work and play. Then I can believe that I can grow up, be responsible and still have fun.
Please remember what you wanted when you were my age. Then you’ll better understand my needs and interests.
Please understand and accept me. I may be different from you, but I’m OK.
Please treat me as an individual. Then I’ll know I can be my unique self.
Please hug me and tell me that you care about me. Then I’ll feel lovable and express caring to others.
Thank you for hearing me. I love you.
Our children watch us closely. They listen to our words, even if our words aren’t meant for them. They do as we do, even if they shouldn’t, because perhaps we sent the wrong message, or modeled a behavior without thinking through the effects it would have. Many things our children do are done from their misunderstanding, not out of their conscious misbehavior. No child tries to be mean or “bad.”
A group of preschoolers sat on the floor with instruments piled in the center of the circle. The music teacher directed them to run into the circle and choose their favorite instrument for the day. A very large child got up and ran for the tambourine, bumping into other little ones on his way to the center. He was admonished in front of all the others: “What is wrong with you? Can’t you see you’ve knocked over your classmates? You need to be more careful!”
Although he did exactly what he was told, that experience brought unnecessary humiliation, making him uncomfortable and unmotivated to participate or even return to music class.
An 8-year-old sat in class with her peers, and when the teacher asked if there were any questions, she raised her hand to ask a simple question. The teacher told her that was the most ridiculous question she had ever heard. She never answered the question, and that child never raised her hand in class again.
We have the opportunity to give our children everything. I’m not speaking of endless toys and throwaway “collectibles.” I’m suggesting we give them gifts that last a lifetime –– gifts of who we are.
We can fill their heads with what our dreams were, and what our dreams are for them. We have the opportunity to show them, invite them, expose them, nurture them and teach them. They are our children and we are their teachers, for life. They will do as we do. We are their heroes. We are their protectors. We are our heritage.
We have the opportunity to shape and mold our children; to instill in them the desire to dream and, perhaps, achieve all the things we didn’t but wish we had. Sitting in front of the television won’t help them reach that dream.
Every single day, we can start over. We can give our children the world. We can introduce and expose them to anything and everything. It’s important that we take our job as parents and educators seriously, and give them everything we can so that they grow up to be all we had hoped for and more.