Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Letter to my Child

August 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Parenting From Balance©

Dear Kian,

As you prepare for kindergarten, I wanted to write a letter to you, my love, to document my hopes for you, my love for you, and my admiration of you.  

You are an amazing person, with unlimited gifts.

I hope you will live in a world of peace, nature, community, egalitarianism, and high ideals.

I want you to be fulfilled and happy, and value the importance of life’s simple pleasures.  This is where you will find true bliss. 

My hope for your life is that you will realize early the importance of wanting what you have.  And this should not preclude, if you are intrinsically inspired to do so, reaching for the stars.

I want you to be respectful of life, satisfied, passionate, and intrinsically motivated.  I want you to understand how to heal others, and the difference between being able to do so, and feeling compelled to do so in a co-dependent way. 

I am sure I am making mistakes.  And if you feel that I could have done better in some areas, and would like to discuss it with me, please do me that favor.  I am always willing to hear how I might be able to improve in my abilities to communicate with others and teach my values.  And also know that having children is an evolutionary process.  It can be an upward progression, if you seize the chance.  Each generation can progress as “people” a little more!  And that is where you have the opportunity and power to improve upon things with your own children.

When my emotions overcome my ability to handle them, and I don’t respond compassionately to you, (the way I intend always to) or even when I ‘lose it’ totally and yell at you,  I want to be compassionate and forgiving with myself, and resolve to do better next time.  Because you are always watching, and I am always mentoring, and I want you to be compassionate and forgiving with yourself when you make mistakes, rather than hold yourself up to some inhuman rigid standard that will only make you bitter, self-loathing, and self-reproaching. 

We will nurture you from a “whole child” approach.  To promote your cognitive development I will provide enriching environments with plenty of freedom for your to explore, and gentle guidance and scaffolding when necessary.  To promote your emotional development I will allow you to feel and exhibit the full range of your emotional expression, without judgment or coercion.  To promote your social development I will continue to  provide a group of peers that Bev Bos would call “family order,” with children aged below and above you in a range of about 2 years.  I will provide opportunities for you to interact socially without an adult “helicoptering” over you and orchestrating every exchange.  And I will provide opportunities for you to resolve your own conflicts, and gentle guidance when necessary to help you resolve them.

When the time comes, I will enroll you in a play-based developmental elementary school, like Riviera PlaySchool, that has a constructivist staff that is well-versed in what Marshall Rosenberg calls Non Violent Communication, what John Gottman calls “Emotion Coaching,” and what Don Miguel Ruiz calls “The Four Agreements.”  

To allow your personality to develop fully and unspoiled by my guidance, I will allow you to experience a wide variety of what life has to offer, with no regard for whether it is ‘appropriate’ to your particular sex, color, race, religion, or creed.  I will allow you to make choices about the activities your engage in, and how you engage in them.  I will also provide plenty of rich nature-ful experiences so you can learn about the beautiful and incredible natural world we live in.  I will provide a playgroup that is as diverse as Los Angeles, both economically and ethnically, and many opportunities to meet people you would normally not meet, so you can understand more cultural viewpoints than just our own.  I will provide you with a mother who is constantly seeking to question her own biases, and clear them, so you can have the experience of living with a parent who does not narrow your mind with her viewpoints.

I will promote your creative development by proving books, and reading daily, and by providing you with a variety of open-ended toys like building blocks and legos, and creative materials like cardboard boxes, tape, pipe cleaners, paint, fabric, glue, string, boxes and wooden parts so we can make the things you desire, and the things that spring up in your imagination. 

Your sex-role development will occur spontaneously through the influence of your family and the children in your school and peer group.  As much as possible, I will offer you a non-sexist environment to grow in, so you can choose your activities based on your desires, rather than your fear of being stigmatized.

Kian, when we first found out we were going to have you we were ecstatic.  We had already been married for 12 years, had lived in Japan together, traveled, and worked at our respective careers, so were more than ready to welcome you into our family. The year you finally decided to come to us we had settled into a new home on a hiking path, which made the neighborhood closer-knit: everyone walked on the path, and so everyone knew each other.  It was the perfect neighborhood to welcome children into. 

Your birth made us a family.  Your birth also completed a lifelong dream I had of becoming a mother.  From the moment I took you into my arms, it felt natural to be holding you, as though I had never NOT been holding you.  I knew you the moment I saw you, and I was finally complete.  And when I watched your father with you, I could see that he felt the same.

You just turned 6 this week, and in another 2 weeks you will start kindergarten.  It seems to be perfect timing for you.  We are grateful to have given you an extra year to play and develop without the stress of meeting academic pressures.  You are amazing.  We love your active fantasy life, and how you negotiate like a pro.  You are kind, and compassionate, and generous.  You are honest, passionate, funny, and have strong beliefs and values.  And you are a wordsmith, and constantly wow us with your brilliance.  At 2 years 10 months you asked me some questions that floored me: “What do scorpions think?” “Do ants sleep” “Do bees poop?” and “Where do my words come from?” Since then you have continued to unfold like an amazing exotic flower, filled with surprises and secrets that you reveal with your questions and thoughtful remarks.  

Just today you said to me “I believe anything is possible,”  and with that, I felt I had achieved the bulk of my intentions with you.

We love you more than anything in the world, and are so grateful that you chose us to be your parents.  I hope we do not let you down.

(And in rereading this letter, I realize that I could just as easily have written it to myself.  I love you!)

Lots of love,

Linda (Mommy)

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