You can’t be what you don’t see.
I had this epiphany the other day. (Don’t bother sitting down for it. I’m a pretty slow learner.)
I would love for my kid to be a multilingual musician – music and languages being fluencies I’m interested in, but don’t have. But, it occurred to me that signing him up for pre-school music or French immersion or filling the house with musical instruments isn’t going to really move the dial in that direction.
The best thing I could do would be to take music lessons myself.
He’s going to be most influenced – hang on, he is currently most influenced, by the things my partner and I do, on a daily basis, the things we love enough to make time for, to make a part of our life.
That’s how we shape these little people most profoundly. By being who we are.
The best single thing I can do, to give him a head-start in life, is not to sign him up for 6000 different extra curricular activities, but to work honestly and diligently on myself. It’s frustrating, mostly because I realize that I am also the thing that will hold him back – my shortcomings, my long learning curve, the time it takes me to slowly become the person I want to be.
But, and this is why it was such an epiphany for me, it puts the parent back in the game of self-actualizing, doesn’t it? Instead of becoming a servant entirely to your kids’ needs, and your ambitions for your kid, you actually need to make time to do the things you love – go for a bike ride, or ride your horse, or hike into the mountains. And make time for the things you need – self-care, seeing a therapist, heading to a meeting, reading a book, joining a club, hitting a weekly dance class, volunteering, drumming, singing your songs… whatever it might be.
I can’t love this photo that Dave Steers shared hard enough, from the summer’s Lillooet Lake Rodeo. As Dave said, “start ’em young.” There’s no shortage of beautiful little groms in this neck of the woods, chasing their parents around, and shortly after that, passing them and leaving us in the dust. Sometimes they’re a big distraction, from getting to the business of Living, and sometimes, they’re the most focusing thing of all.