Sometimes I like to take a break from cooking to write about my experience as a mom, so please indulge me once again. I have three daughters. Each one of my girls is distinctly different, and I find that pretty awesome. My oldest is creative and artistic. She is demanding and particular. She is brave and determined. My youngest is happy and loving. She is silly and smart. She is a compassionate friend and a typical little sister. I adore this picture because I believe that it is the perfect embodiment of their individual personalities.
But I have another daughter, my middle. She has the sweetest soul. She cares deeply, and takes things to heart. She wounds easily, yet heals quickly, and forgives completely. I am frequently in awe of her compassion. So, it comes as no surprise that she caught my attention this week with her concern for those around her. Monday was Martin Luther King Day. Her teacher has been educating the class this week about the work of Dr. King and the struggles that many Americans face. My middle, of course, took this to heart. She came to me right away, knowing that I teach a civil rights unit. She wanted to know more. She wanted to understand and see what strife others faced. Tonight she won my heart, yet again, when she settled in with my work computer to watch a Discovery Channel documentary that I use in my own teaching. She was mesmerized. She asked questions and marked chapters that she wanted her class to see and understand.
As a mom, I felt so proud, and it occurred to me that I need to be deliberate in how I cultivate these personality traits in my children, to ensure that they continue into adulthood. I need to remind myself what really matters when I measure my daughters. It’s not the quantity of accolades, but, to quote Dr. King, it’s “the content of their character”. I once read a parenting book that warned parents to be careful of the traits they break down in their children, because they are usually the traits we want them to have as adults. I plan to really take inventory of my daughters and look for the traits that will empower them. My oldest may drive me crazy with her determination, but that is exactly what she is going to need to persevere when the path is rough. My little may be silly, but that sense of humor is what will keep her balanced when the path is rigorous and dull. My middle may be sensitive, but that is what she will need to spread kindness and compassion when the path is dark.
I have no doubt that my girls will find success in life, and it sure is fun to watch them learn and evolve into their own kind of person. I think it is cool that they can grow up in the same house, with the same parents, yet become such unique individuals. I am reminded to cherish what really matters in life, raising good people. That is my job as a mom. I will try my hardest everyday to teach them and encourage them to be true to themselves and kind to others.