You’re the most wonderful creature that I’ve ever seen.
I guess every parent thinks about their kids this way, right?
I’m pretty new to this whole parenting thing and don’t really know what I’m doing yet. I’m determined to create the best possible conditions for you to thrive and flourish, but then again, isn’t every other parent too? Everyone has best intentions, and then sometimes life gets in the way.
For the last few months I thought a lot about what kind of a parent I wish to be. See, I had a lot of opinions about what I don’t want to do, but very few ideas of what I could do instead. I’ve read a couple of books and blogs now, and they all sound quite inspiring, but I’ve never seen these ideas actually put into practice. Is it in fact possible to stay firm, gentle, calm, and grounded when a two-year-old toddler starts screaming and rolling on supermarket floor? Guess there’s only one way to find out.
When I was 9 years old, I read all the parenting books in our house, and started giving my parents advice on what they could do better. This didn’t go down very well. I would love you to share your feedback with me, so I decided to describe my parenting North Star I’d like to aim towards, and post it here for everyone to see. If you ever see me breaking these promises, please let me know, so I can do better.
I promise to always remember that you are your own, whole person, with your own goals, dreams and plans. I will respect your choices and agenda, even if they’re very different from mine. If you choose things, activities, or even a life path I wouldn’t have chosen myself, I will still accept you fully, and seek to understand the choices you’ve made.
I promise to create an exciting and safe environment for you to explore and discover things on your own. I will always be at an arm’s length if you need me, but will encourage you to try, fail, and try again, so that you get to experience how rewarding it is to figure something out all by yourself, and become confident in your problem-solving abilities.
I promise to hold space for you to experience all kinds of emotions, without trying to fix you or distract you when you want to cry. I will help you name, witness, and understand these feelings, and express them in constructive ways, so that you’re equipped to deal with all the different flavors of life.
I promise to welcome your every idea and opinion, even the ones I strongly disagree with. I won’t be always able to accommodate for your wishes, but I can always acknowledge and respect them. I will encourage you to question the status quo, even if it’s one that I have personally established. I will explain my reasoning in terms you can understand, so that you can question the pieces that don’t fit and help me come up with something better.
I promise to give you as much freedom as I can, and to establish boundaries in a gentle but firm way. I will accept your pushback on these boundaries and challenging emotions that might arise in response, and help you deal with them in a healthy way.
I promise to always accept all of you, even the most challenging parts, so that you can learn to accept yourself fully as well. I will model behaviours, stances and attitudes I’d like to see in you, so that you can learn from me by example. I will help you develop your own inner compass, so that you don’t have to rely on other people’s opinion, not even on mine.
I promise to learn every day from you, and together with you, knowing this will always be a work in progress. I will take my time to appreciate all the twists and turns in this beautiful, messy, and awkward dance through life together, until you’re ready to dance further on your own.
And when I inevitably mess something up, I will accept it, apologize, and see how we can make it right together, so that you can learn to deal with your own mistakes too.
PS. Your dad also wrote you a welcome letter. You can check it out here.