As you all know, Jenny P is a friend of mine. In fact, I’ve written her an ode. Upon discussing our child-rearing plans through email, Jenny did not disappoint me. She wrote this (with my asides in italics):
Shoot dang, you got me rolling. Here’s my top ten as of now. My kids shall . . .
- Love animals – screw the scared kids. Buncha wimps! (As a child who was afraid of dogs, I agree. Buncha wimps. Teach kids to not be scared of dogs and other animals. Just teach them caution.)
- Speaking of wimps – my kids will have the ability to “shake it off” – my kids will be tough, meaning, they’ll know the difference between getting hit hard with a tennis ball (shake it off) and falling out of a tree, breaking a bone (valid pain – let’s go to the hospital)
- Be much more interested in playing outside than playing on a computer or watching TV (Ahem-eating dirt.)
- Be capable, creative, and resourceful – Their swing set breaks? They find rope and set up a tire swing. They spot a raccoon? They rig up a trap to catch him (of course this will worry me if I find out about it because raccoons carry rabies and can bite, but I will appreciate the creativity and drive).
- They will question everything. Why does it hail when it’s not even cold? Why do the worms come out after it rains? How could one guy really build a boat big enough to fit two of every animal, and why wouldn’t the animals all have eaten each other? How, if Adam and Eve were the only two people on Earth at the beginning, did there get to be so many people now? (Jenny, please catalogue your answers so that I may use them in the future.)
- They will see the magic in things – lightning bugs, dandelions, thunderstorms, rainbows (And they have to want t0 lick the moon.)
- They will play well with others and be on many sports teams. You can’t beat sports teams for building an appreciation of unity, teamwork, and toughness.
- They will all know how to throw a spiral. (A requirement.)
- Be confident in their intelligence and appearance. Looks are not important – understood – but confidence is. I’ll let them know they’re smart and beautiful so they can worry about the other stuff.
- Dance. They will dance, and they will sing. It doesn’t matter if they have rhythm or can carry a tune. Dancing and singing promote joy.
Upon being told that I would post her list to my blog, she wrote the following:
Some of your people aren’t going to take kindly to me calling their kids wimps. Does this make me sound nicer?
I will raise my kids the rough and tumble way. They will fall down and hurt sometimes, and so will I. But we will also get up, shake it off, and dance. I will have fun with my kids and raise them to be fun. I want to be my kids’ best friend. I will discipline them, yes (I freaking hate whiny kids who think they rule the world), but I don’t want to merely occupy the role of dictator in their lives. I want to also be part of their fondest memories. Remember that time Mama Jenny checked us out of school, bought us big bags of M&Ms, and drove us to the beach for the day? Just because she said it was a “windows-down, road-tripping kind of day?” Yep. Those are the kinds of memories I want my kids to have of me. I also want them to grow up loving nature, loving each other, seeing the good in people and the world, and loving to learn. I think people who are blessed with the thirst for knowledge have overall happier, more interesting lives. So I will not make my children pick their passions and their interests at an early age – I will let them explore and discover them as they come. Mostly, I just want my kids to be happy. And the only way to be happy is to be happy, I think. I don’t think happiness is the result of anything – sure you can eat chocolate cake and be happy or win a million dollars and be happy – but I think that happiness has to have been in you anyway or else it will be a fleeting thing. So I will raise my kids to find happiness every day, whether it is a good day or not. Never go to bed on anger, my dad always told me. I will see that and raise it one to “never go to bed not happy.” I almost always wake up happy. And I want my kids to too.
Pretty glad my kids will have an Aunt Jenny. 🙂 Love you, Bingo!