I’ve read a few blogs, articles, etc… lately that highlight a list of things that mothers/fathers/caregivers want to teach the small ones in their lives. I, however, have not found a list that would work for me as I think and pray about what I want to teach my darling daughter Ellen. I’ve had this list kicking around in my head for a while. It’s not perfect, and it might not be complete, but it’s what I have for now.
1) Please make God the most important thing in your life. God should even be more important than your father and I. That said…
2) There may come a time where you question God’s existence. That’s okay (and quite normal). And with that said…
3) I am a Pastor. I am your mother. I may not be able to do both at the same time for you. If you need Pastoral guidance, we will find you a pastor (or hey, call either one of your Godfathers–they’re both pastors!)
4) I will celebrate your achievements. While at the same time…
5) I will encourage you to be a gracious loser. Too many in my generation don’t want their children to fail. That’s not me. Life is full of failures and disappointments. While I don’t want you to lose, it’s going to happen. And by the way, I refuse to reward you for every single little thing you do.
6) I will encourage you to read versus watching television. I will encourage you to experience things versus reading about them. I will encourage you to teach others about what you experience and read.
7) You will be celebrated for who you are: smart, funny, charming, a woman of God, the gem of your father’s eye and your mother’s mischievous little goof. That said…
8) You ARE NOT whatever number is on your pants, shirt, shoes, etc. Society will fight fiercely to tell you differently. Don’t listen to them. Do whatever you must to block out the voices that tell you that you need to be smarter, skinnier, taller, shorter, etc… Because God created you to be the most amazing you. You are enough. Tell yourself this over and over and over.
9) I hope to instill in you an appreciation of all kinds of music. This doesn’t mean you have to love all of it, but I hope you appreciate it.
10) You will respect your elders. You will address those older than you and those in authority as ma’am or sir. You will say please and thank you. You will genuinely apologize when it is needed. You will have a firm handshake and look people in the eye.
11) I encourage you to stay up on current events. Sadly, too many people these days can tell you all about what Snooki did last night but have no idea of current global issues. You may really hate riding in the back of the car while your father and I listen to NPR, but you will become more informed because of it.
12) Please register to vote and make it a habit to do so. I promise that until you are old enough to vote, you can accompany your father or me into the voting booth as we participate in the democratic process.
13) You will be in trouble less if you tell me/us the truth the first time.
14) If there comes a time when you’ve had too much to drink and you’re not able to drive home, call your father or me. We will come and get you–no questions asked.
15) Someone is going to break your heart. Again, I don’t want it to happen. We’ll figure out how to handle it when the time comes.
16) I hope to model for you on how to be a loyal friend.
17) While being Bearcats have brought your father and I a great deal of joy, we want you to choose a college that will fit you best.
18) Oh yeah, I’d like you to go to college.
19) We prayed for you. We waited for you. We wanted you. You were worth waiting for. Remember that as you get older and the pressure increases in dating situations.
20) You were named after some amazing people. Know where you came from so you can know where you’re going.