Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I Believe

I believe.  I believe in right and wrong.  I believe that hard work matters in the end.  I believe that it's important to know what we're putting in our bodies.  I believe it's important to stand up for what I believe in.  I believe in treating people the way I want to be treated.  I believe in telling the truth.  I believe spending time with family and friends is important.  I believe in the value of education.  I believe in sports superstitions.  I believe in saving money where I can, in being frugal without being cheap - and that there is a difference.

And I want the wee ones to believe, too.  I want them to believe in this and in so much more.

As a parent, this is one of our toughest jobs.  How do we pass on our beliefs to our children such that they become ingrained in them, something that they simply know.  We can't just lecture them, as that quickly gets old.  Talk is cheap, anyway.  I know we need to model what we believe, live it and breathe it, but that doesn't guarantee that our children will absorb those beliefs automatically.  There isn't a magic wand or a simple booklet that lays out steps one through twenty-seven for how to get our children to grow up with our beliefs.

Part of growing up is learning to think independently and decide what you will reject from your upbringing and what you will incorporate going forward.  And that fits in nicely with my belief in standing up for what you believe in.  Except that I hope and pray that the wee ones end up believing what I want them to believe.

And so I talk about things that are yucky - about how I really hope they never smoke because it smells so bad and is gross and costs a lot of money and will make you old before your time and you'll get sick from it and all the other arguments I can possibly marshal.  And they will never see me smoke, not because I hide it from them like some of my friends, but because I simply don't smoke.  And then I cross my fingers and make a wish on the first star I see at night and then just hope and pray that something sticks.

I do the same with hard work.  We talk about how hard something was but then how awesome it felt once they finished it or figured it out.  I let them see me working hard and how I deal with my frustration in those situations.  I talk about other people I see who have had to work hard in life to get where they are and how happy they are because of it.  This is an important lesson for me to impart because so much of my life was too was too easy.  I had too much handed to me, and when I finally had to work hard, I didn't know how.  And I didn't want to.  It was a hard lesson to learn, and I do all I can to ensure that the wee ones learn it early.

And so it goes.  My list is fluid and never-ending, and the how's and why's are always changing, too.  There's something I want from you, though.  I want to know:

What do you believe in?

In the interest of full disclosure, this post was inspired by the book "Julia's Child" by Sarah Pinneo as part of the From Left to Write book club where we write posts inspired by books rather than actual book reviews.  I received a copy of the book for review purposes but was not compensated.  As always, all opinions expressed remain my own.


Amy @ May 23, 2012 at 12:35 PM  

What a great list of beliefs. I'm realizing that I need to make my own list so that I do right by my kids every day. My belief of the day is that we shouldn't trick our kids into eating healthy foods, but we should show them the how & why of healthy eating. And even make it fun.

Kori May 23, 2012 at 7:16 PM  

I believe that no matter how hard we try, no matter how good an example we set, our kids are just going to go on ahead and believe and do what they want-and I HAVE to believe that at some point, they will comeback to how they were taught.

Sandra May 25, 2012 at 11:49 PM  

I believe in the tolerance of differences; I believe that we should always try to put ourselves in other people's shoes; I believe in children's innocence; I believe in humanity. I believe in pink lemonade on summer afternoons; I believe in blasting music once in a while; I believe in divulging in sweets every now and then. I believe that if you genuinely believe something, your actions show through and your children will absorb it through your actions, not words, and internalize it and eventually possess it. =)

Momo Fali May 26, 2012 at 8:30 AM  

I believe I need to read that book!

septembermom May 30, 2012 at 11:30 AM  

I want to find that book too. Great list of beliefs Michelle. I always tell my kids that I believe in the power of kindness and compassion. I want them to look out for the underdog and the voiceless.

Michelle June 1, 2012 at 11:11 AM  

Amy - Thanks. It's so nice to reference this list sometimes when I'm having one of THOSE days and need it. I'm definitely with you on the healthy foods!

Kori - I certainly hope you're right that they do come back to what they're taught. And I hope that the wee ones never stray too far from the path we're walking now.

Sandra - Oh that is a wonderful list, too. I love it!

Momo - Interestingly, the book actually isn't about the beliefs. It's about a woman who sticks up for what she believes in by starting a business. Like I said, the post was inspired by this the book ;)

Kelly - It was a good book, but it's a novel. And some of it grated on me a bit, but I'd love to know what you think of it. Yes to the powers of kindness and compassion!

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