All of us probably blame our parents for something. Our weight, our insecurity, our emotional unstability. How many of us have wished for different parents, different circumstances, or a completely different childhood? Who didn’t have something forced on them that later in life, they resented? Piano lessons, Jesus, soccer, guilt… you name it.
Thinking now about being a parent, that’s some heavy weight, and a big responsibility. How do you raise a child that won’t resent you? How do you make sure they know about the important things? Can you guarantee you’ll raise someone that doesn’t waste their life with drugs or stupidity?
I don’t know.
What I do know is that it’s important to set some goals, lay down some ideals, formulate some principles, or at least try and have some kind of idea what it is that I want our baby girl to know about. This is a first stab at that list. There are numbers but it’s in no particular order.
- It’s okay to ask questions. Ask me about anything. Questions mean that you’re using your brain and trying to figure things out. I won’t lie to you, or try and whitewash things to protect you. Knowing everything you can about the universe and how things work will make you a better person.
- I will not try and force belief systems, religions, out-dated ways of thinking, superstitions or other questionable social behaviors on you. I will try and teach you the difference between right and wrong, but I hope to also teach you how to determine if someone is feeding you a big pile of horse manure, and how to take their illogical arguments and turn them on their head.
- I will try to never raise my voice in anger.
- I will read to you every day, as long as I’m at home. I will read you all sorts of things: books, magazines, newspapers, poetry, plays.
- There will be music in our house. You will hear all sorts of music. We have a piano and a guitar, your mother and I both can sing. If we decide to send you to music lessons, we will find out how you feel about that first.
- I will try and teach you as much as I can about the natural world. I think it’s really important that you know about flowers and trees, as well as the birds and the bees. We will have pets, and you will learn how to behave around animals. We might even have livestock, if we have the room.
- I will laugh with you, and play with you, and get on the floor and tickle you.
- We will paint things and build things and sculpt things from clay. I will try and show you how things work. When you’re old enough I will show you how to take things apart.
- I will not make any attempt to foist organized sports on you, whether it be dance or gymnastics or field hockey. If you decide you want to do it, fine, but it’s your decision.
- I will display your artwork masterpieces in a place of honor.
- I will take lots of pictures of you, and when you are old enough, show you how to take pictures of your own.
- You will learn about sex and reproduction and all the associated issues from me and your mother first, not from friends or teachers.