Tag Archives: parenting

Letter to my son as he turns 10

My son turned 10 and I just found the letter I wrote here when he turned 5. I cannot believe time has passed so quickly! (Yes, friends did warn me.) I am drawing, once more, from the inspiration that prompted me previously. My friend, Nevin Adams, wrote a letter to his son as he graduated from high school. I cherry-picked a few of his messages because, really, a 5-year old can only follow so much! 

Never miss a chance to tell someone “thank you.” This can be a friend, a teacher or anyone who you see helping others.

“What do you think?” is a great response when you don’t know the answer. We often do not have all the answers! AND, more importantly, asking questions is the smartest thing you can do to keep learning. Life will always be your classroom.

The hardest thing to do is quit while you’re ahead. 

The second hardest thing to do is to keep your mouth shut. Listening is much more important than speaking. Unfortunately, some people want more attention and make a bit of noise. That’s ok. Be well informed before you decide to take center stage.

If you don’t speak up, people will assume you’re happy with the way things are. It is acceptable to question authority and propose new ideas.

If you don’t love yourself, nobody else will.

Not everyone will become your friend, but be kind to everyone.

Civil discussions are important. People will have differing opinions but discuss your viewpoints without being disrespectful.

I just shared this with my son. He read both out loud to me. After going out and playing Pokémon Go this morning, I enjoy having a moment where we just talk. The next five years might fly by just as fast, so I will hold onto this day.

 

Surprise!

I recently read a post from Scott Adler that included a list of things he had not anticipated about being a parent.  It got me thinking: what had I not expected?  So, in no particular order, is my starting list of things I had not expected:

  • That I could adapt to sleep deprivation.  This continued for a full year as my son did not sleep through the night until he was a year old.  Painful.  It’s a bit of a blur.
  • The amount of gear required to get the job done.  Since they need smaller, specialized items, the initial list of stuff to buy was huge.  Fortunately, we had lots of generous family and friends who provided us with a good start.
  • Boys are boys regardless of the parenting.  Without teaching him about guns, my son can create a gun out of any random object, starting with a branch and, more recently, a chicken tender.
  • I have sat and watched endless hours of animated shows and now I know about Avatar the Airbender, Caillou, Handy Manny, Kipper, Phineas and Ferb, and other characters I did not know existed two years ago.
  • My son, at age 3, would teach me to tell the difference between a Clone Trooper and a Storm Trooper.
  • Did you know that LEGO mini-figures are out there and they are fun to collect?  There are some based on movies (like Star Wars) and others that you can get in mystery bags.  Oh, and there is an app for Droid phones with a bar code scanner so you can then figure out what is in those bags.  Yes, I have it.
  • A child can have an opinion about fashion even if only 2-4 years old.
  • If you tell your child about a pending birthday or holiday, be prepared to discuss it every day, maybe every hour, until it arrives.  Lesson: hyping Halloween a month in advance is a bad idea.

This is not all-inclusive, but some of the first things I could think of–I think I will continue in another post.  Until then, what has surprised you about parenting?

The Only Child

So, I will start by saying I am an only child.  I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been told I don’t act like one.  Is that supposed to be a compliment?  Whatever.  Now I have one.  I am overly aware of the potential for making him spoiled.  The thing is, my husband and I live a comfortable life.  We don’t have a huge house or expensive cars, so that means we have more disposable income available than we might otherwise.  We both have the tendency to shop for our son when we’re out and about.  I’ll pick up extra clothes or items at the airport if I am traveling on business.  There is a big book store near my husband’s work downtown, so he’ll shop there on his lunch breaks.

My son was the first grand child on both sides, so his grandparents like to give him things all the time.  This means that he wants for nothing.  He has a library of books that far surpasses anything I ever had.  He has DVDs and toys.  He has art supplies, LEGOs, Star Wars action figures and Happy Meals toys. He just received an outdoor playset.

We just had a birthday party for him.  We had his party at a “Pump It Up” location where they did everything—supplied the bouncey houses and the party room with pizza.  We just provided the cupcakes.  He had 14 guests.  Do the math, that means he received a lot of new toys.  We put everything into the car and came home.  I will confess to you that I ditched five of the gifts he received and he did not notice.  I’m going to give them to charity.  I actually wish he was an active participant in this and understood that we were providing some toys for children who need them more than he does.  For now, I’m not sure he would agree with that philosophy.

I’d love to hear how other parents teach their children empathy.  How do you impress upon them that other children are needy?  When do you get your children involved in charitable projects?