Thursday, January 8, 2015

What we hope to teach our children

For some time I have been meaning to write about some topics that might help birth parents have a better understanding of some things are important to Rob and me.  So I decided to take a little time to do that tonight.

One thing that is important to us is teaching our children and also helping them have a good education. 

Growing up, education was always important in my home.  Both of my parents went to college, which was great, but I particularly admired my mom because she was the first person in her family to go to college.  She studied to become a teacher and she was a fabulous teacher to me as a child and to her students in her classroom.  I grew up knowing how important it was to study and to learn.  My mom read hundreds of books to me.  She would get the biggest stack from the library and read until she fell asleep.  My love for reading comes from her.  And I have a particular soft spot in my heart for children’s books.

Rob also grew up knowing the importance of an education.  His parents helped him think long term about college.  They also taught him how to work.  From a young age he spent the summers working and learning the value of hard work.  This has served him well and he credits his parents for teaching him this. 

I used to like the quote “knowledge is power” until it dawned on me that while knowing something was good, it was not enough.  Knowledge is important, but it is what a person does with that knowledge that is vital.  Application of knowledge helps a person get results and be successful and hopefully feel fulfilled.

So to sum it up, it is important to Rob and me not only that our children learn, (and we hope that they cultivate a love for learning), but that they learn how to work hard and use what they learn and love to lead a fulfilling and happy life. 

That being said, I will share another quote I like:  “A lot of parents will do anything for their kids except let them be themselves”.  Now this quote could be generalized and applied to a host of parenting topics.  In the context of what I have written about learning and work, I think it applies quite well to the idea that everyone is different, has different strengths, talents, passions, etc.  And trying to dictate to your child what career or course of study they need to take is ill advised and sets everyone up for failure.  So while we have hopes and aspirations for our children we are well aware that we can’t make them do something they refuse to do or have no interest in doing.  And that is not the kind of parents we would ever want to be.   We don’t want to force them to do or be something they don’t want to be or that they aren’t.  We want our children we to be kind, good, hard working, and successful in their chosen field, and we want to have a fulfilling and happy relationship with them.

Now Jacob is only four and the things a four year old needs to learn are different than what a 14 yr old needs to learn.  Sure there are some things that we learn and relearn throughout our lives.  But a few things we are trying to do with Jacob right now are—We take time to read to him everyday—We read him stories, and I am also working on teaching him to read.  He is doing pretty well too.  His favorite word is CAT, but he is getting more confident with a lot of other words as well. 

We also hope Jacob learns Spanish, so we try to speak a little bit everyday as well.  His favorite phrase is “es mio”  (it’s mine) we take turns trying to grab or pull a toy from one another.   It’s a fun game we play. 

Another thing we want our children to learn is how to reach out and serve others.  Over a year ago I started going with Jacob to deliver food to the elderly through Meals on Wheels.  We usually just go once a month and at first it was a challenge with him just because he was smaller and it was a large apt complex we were navigating with food, etc.  But as time has gone on, I have seen how much he loves it and I really look forward to it as well.  The people are so sweet and they love seeing Jacob.  I am so glad we took a tiny bit of time out of our month to help in this small way.  And Rob and I hope we can cultivate a love for others in the hearts of Jacob and the other children we have. 

I’ll share a funny story about Jacob to finish up.  Rob caught a bad cough/cold during Christmas vacation and one morning after Jacob woke up he asked how Daddy was doing.  I said, let’s go check on him.  So we did.  Jacob walked into our room and Rob was lying on the bed, and Jacob asked him, “How are you doing Daddy?”

Rob responded, “I’m okay, thanks for coming by to say hi” (or something like that). 

Then Jacob and I walked out of the room so Rob could continue to rest.  As we were walking down the hallway, Jacob stopped and asked me, “Mom, why am I learning to be a parent?” 

I laughed and said something to the effect that everyday we are learning and that someday he would be a parent and so that is why we try to teach him how to be good and kind. 

And so I guess that’s what I am doing.  Someday--and everyone always tells me it will happen before I know it—which someday sounds nice, but most days I just want him to stay four and fun forever).  But yes someday he will grow up and leave the nest and Rob and I will hope we have given him the tools he needs to succeed.

I am always looking for ways to make learning fun.  Jacob enjoyed using these stamps to make words and practice his letters.