The Hardest Lesson I Have Learned Since Becoming a ParentMay 28, 2014
One of the most sincere and honest gifts you receive as a parent is the ability to see a true reflection of oneself. With the countless social media accounts that allow us to create a version of ourselves that we wish we were (and in some cases begin to believe we are), this gift is rare indeed. Surrounded by technology that allows us to hide and advertising that hunts us down into our very home in order to make us feel insecure, children are one of the last connections we have to pure honesty and imagination.
When I first looked at my daughter and was overwhelmed with love, I began to imagine all the possibilities her future held for her. I constantly wondered who she would become, what she will accomplish and most of all, will she be truly happy and fulfilled. I then anxiously asked myself how much I would have an impact on all of these things.
I began to realize how high my expectations of Eve, and the person I want her to be, had become. I want her to be kind, honest, loving, empathetic, adventurous, unselfish, creative, disciplined and all of those other top notch qualities. I want her to live every day to the fullest, to follow her dreams without doubt, to think before she speaks and always put herself in others shoes.
And then it hit me.
How on earth can I demand all of these things from Eve when I don‘t even come close to half of those myself! How can I set the bar so high for her when I, her role model, can’t even see the bar. How is that fair?
And there began my journey inwards, to reflect on all that I dreamed of her becoming and make it first a reality for myself. If I cannot set the right example then how unjust would it be for me to pressure her to meet such expectations?! I must make sure to live every single day to the fullest, to be kind and loving, to show patience in the face of chaos, humility, understanding, and everything else I will demand of her.
Eve will be growing up in a world that teaches women they must be strong, but only provides tools that promote insecurity to ensure their loyalty and emphasize that outer beauty is of the utmost importance. A world filled with social media that can make you whoever you want through HTML but not substance or true character. What a dangerous world we live in. While I prepare to teach my daughter to guard herself against such ensnaring lies and the temptation to live in an illusion, I must first overcome these things myself. It is overwhelming and scary but once that realization is there it is also freeing.
I acknowledge how far I am from who I want her to be, but admitting that is the first step. The second step is realizing that you will face many situations where you will have to take the hard road just so you may be the best role model possible. However difficult the situation and to whatever extent you would like to give that person a piece of your mind, ask yourself how you would want your child to react. Be who you want them to become.
It is a tall order to fill and one that has no bottom, but the return on such an investment will not only change your child’s life, but yours as well. Stop airbrushing your social media persona and be the person you were made to be, flaws and all. Show your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews the importance of being true to oneself. Through those actions not only are you giving them a priceless gift, but you are allowing yourself to receive their gift to you. Such honest and pure outlook of the world can only be seen through a child’s eyes. See yourself through their eyes, for who you really are, and celebrate that person. Never stop working towards being the best role model you can be and they will become a reflection of you.