I am my children's compass. My thoughts, actions, talents, responses, quirks, beliefs and flaws all act as a compass guiding Abby and Henry. I provide nudges this way and that. I teach through the filter of my personal beliefs. I accept the truth of this foundation but must admit that it terrifies me. I want Abby and Henry to derive their beliefs from their own personal truths--not mine. I strive for them to fold my tutelage into their own personal mix of them and us, and encourage them to always edit for their authenticity.
As a child, I initially lit my light by the thoughts and energy of my parents. Later I fueled my fire with ideas from others, including both the bad ("you're awkward and ugly") and the good ("you're a breath of fresh air"). I've realized that I still tightly grasped some of the mistruths others crafted for me along my path--and found it much easier to glom onto the negatives than the positives. Fortunately, I now fully embrace my fabulousness. It took me 37 years and counting to learn this--how do I instill my children with the self-confidence to do the same? Right now?
How do young children, so pure and absorbent, mitigate the intricacies of not only their parents' lives but also their own? Take, for instance, the recent media coverage of the tragic bullying cases--the insidiousness of other's cruelties shake me to my core. How do I teach my children to not just persevere but flourish?
In what ways do I misguide my children? (Although I don't yet know exactly how I've fumbled as a parent, I know that when Henry and Abby are in their 20's and 30's, they'll fill me in.) I hope that through the truthful sharing and celebration of my life, I will ground them. Ground them with the understanding that mistakes and missteps are all part of emerging into a strong, competent, positive young adult. They must be dutiful editors, only embracing their personal truth. Yes, they can spark their light by my belief in them but I'm just the fire starter. They must develop their own light and pilot their path with their own, truthful, wobbly compasses.