This I Believe

Carol - Crete, Illinois
Entered on February 6, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50

“Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself”

-Kahlil Gibran.

I believe that my children were gifts from above, and I try to be mindful that as their parent, it is my job to usher them safely through childhood.

I know that there are many mothers around the world who’s only hope is that their sons and daughters have enough to eat, or that they make it through the night. Yet, I am fortunate enough that it is my hope, that my son will be happy in a life he chooses, one that employs his particular gifts to the fullest. That I expect my daughter will also find fulfillment in the life she chooses, is another privilege I enjoy, living as I do, in this land of plenty, where women are valued as equals, well, sort of.

It is my intention that they be good citizens of the world who compassionately pay attention to their surroundings. When my daughter asks why that man is begging for money I try to condense an economics lesson and a charity lesson to suit a seven year old mind. I try to teach them how it is that we are all together on this journey of life. That our interconnectedness is fundamental to our survival. That what happens in a small rural town in Africa really does have an impact on us all.

Sometimes I see my children through others eyes. Like when my son’s immature, noise making drives the piano teacher over the edge. Or when my sweet as pie daughter seduces yet another adult into believing that she is in fact an angel. I know that there is no one who sees my children as I do. At this age no one knows them better or loves them more than I do. I also know that how I see my children is a strong indicator of how they come to see themselves and, ultimately, how they see others. So I heap love upon them, hoping against hope that they will grow to be strong, true wellsprings of love.

I try to remember that I am doing what I do for the collective good as well as my children’s. Though I admit, it is very easy to get caught up in our daily lives and loose the big picture. When my son has forgotten his homework, again, my yelling sort of drowns out the most altruistic of intentions. But keeping myself aware that they do not belong to me, like some chattel, and that, in the end, everyone has a stake in their development, helps make it easier to treat my children with respect, as individuals complete with their own life’s purposes.