Last week I read a blog post from a mom who was upset about how much praise us “millennials” received as children, and how it “ruined” us. She explained how, as a result, we are now pampering our kids. She suggested we try not praising our children so much, and that criticism is good for youngster’s souls. “Try being a little more heavy-handed” with the pull downs. After all, your child CAN’T do anything.
I know she was trying to come across as reasonable, perhaps even change some parenting methods, but it was just lost on me. I was seething by the time I finished reading it. I understand some concern about spoiling your children, or worrying that you’re helicopter-parenting, or making sure your child can handle a bit of bad news now and then… but to me there is a line that you don’t cross. As a parent of three children, one of whom has some significant special needs, reading her post inspired me to write a letter to my children. I hope this resonates with some other mothers.
To my children,
I always want you to know how loved you are, how perfect you are, and how wonderful you are. I want you to know that you are always safe and secure with me. I promise that you will never have a stronger advocate or a more unconditional love. From the moment I looked into your eyes I knew that I would do anything for you.
Life won’t always be as easy for you as it is now. I wish it could be. I wish you would be able to take that wide-eyed-innocence out into the world, but the truth is that sometimes bad things happen. It doesn’t matter how good you are. I promise I will prepare you in the best way that I can, but I will never tell you that you weren’t created perfectly.
Sometimes people will be mean to you, and you’ll feel hurt. I hope you come to me to talk about it. I wish I could prevent these things from happening — I can’t. But I can be there waiting for you when you come home. When you’re older, and you don’t live with me anymore, I’ll never be more than a phone call away.
There will come a time when you won’t like me. I hope that it’s fleeting. One day, I’ll ask you to tidy your room before you watch TV, or tell you that you “can’t leave the house in that outfit”, or enforce a curfew. You’ll be mad at me. It’s okay. I promise I will only say and do these things because I love you more than anything else in the world.
When you try something new, sometimes it will be easy and sometimes it will be hard. That’s okay. As long as you’re trying, I couldn’t be more proud. Maybe you’ll come first at something, or win an award… and if you do, of COURSE I will celebrate with you. You know I’ll be the loudest one there! If you lose, which you will at one time or another, I’ll tell you it doesn’t matter, because it’s the taking part that counts. And I’ll mean it.
No matter what you have in your life, there will always be people with more than you, and there will always be people with less than you. As a human being on this beautiful earth, you are very lucky. Even being born in the country you were born in makes you incredibly privileged. And while I will always do my best to provide you with everything that you need, I will teach you that with privilege comes responsibility.
It’s important that you realize there is more to this great big universe than just you. I know it’s a tough lesson I’ve had to learn. The first time I saw you take a toy from another child, or push another child because you felt a little mad, was the first time I realized that, actually, you too are a fallible human being. We all are. It doesn’t mean you’re any less than perfect.
You have to know, though, that the little boy who just pushed you? His mom says he is perfect too. The little girl who stole your toy? Her daddy told her she is perfect.
And they are telling the truth!
To someone, everyone is perfect. To me, perfection is you. Who am I to tell you that you can’t do something? That you’ll never do something? How can I look at you and tell you you’re not good enough? All I know is that you are capable of greatness, and I believe in you. You are good enough. You always have been.
So, if you’re looking for a cheerleader, I’m here. If you’re looking for a staunch supporter, look no further. Your mama will always be here to build you up and increase your confidence. I loved you from the moment I set eyes on you, and that will never, ever change. I’m here to help you see for yourself that you’re exactly who you are supposed to be, and you are awesome.
I love you,