My baby, my fourteen months old, is walking. She’s doing that little drunken sailor walk where she is able to somehow get from one end of the room to the other without actually bending her knees. How toddlers do this is beyond me.
She is our third child. We’ve been through this before. But no matter how many times I see a baby learn to walk and thus march strong into the world of toddlerhood, it still amazes me, and in no small part because it is mind boggling just how often a toddler will fall down and then just simply get right back up to try again.
It reminds me how quickly time moves. My first toddler is off at kindergarten as I write this, and her middle sister is hiding somewhere in our foyer eating pretzels. Why she’s hiding from me, I don’t know. Like a lot of toddlers, she lives under a shroud of mystery.
But I was sitting on my floor, in the midst of all of this growing and changing, and I came across this article which discusses five things this father thinks we should tell our children. It’s a good list. A really good list, actually. But it’s not quite mine.
If I had to pick five things I definitely want to tell my children before we part, it would be these.
- You are important. Very important. Sublimely important. Of the millions and billions and trillions of people who have inhabited this planet, you are every bit as important as every single one of them. What you want matters. What you need matters. Who you are matters. Yes, you are just as important as every other person in the world, but to me, you are more important. To me, you and your sisters and your father, are the most important.
- You have a lot to offer the world. You have talents that have been instilled in you since before you were born, and you can use those talents to help heal this broken world. You can’t fix the whole world. You can’t make things better for everyone. But you can make a tremendous difference if even to one soul. Every time you do something to make this world even slightly better, you start to heal the broken that engulfs us all. You can make a difference. You can change the world. Even if it’s only a little bit.
- You don’t owe anything to anyone. I think we all get so wrapped up in our social entanglements and responsibilities that we fail to recognize that we also have a responsibility to ourselves as well. And you have a right to meet that responsibility. You don’t have to fix everyone. You don’t have to heal everyone’s pain. We were put here for each other. We belong to each other. But we also belong to ourselves. And if your heart is leading you one direction, but the will of others is leading you in another, feel free to follow your heart. There is never an excuse to be unkind or indifferent or disrespectful, but you have every right to live the only life you were given in a manner becoming your spirit and your soul.
- You are responsible for your happiness. Just as you don’t have a responsibility to live for another, no one else has a responsibility to live for you. It’s not your spouse’s, your childrens’, or your friends’ responsibility to make you happy. It’s your responsibility. So go out there and do it. Take on the world. Go out there and fight for what you want. Follow your bliss. Heal your heart. Happiness in this life is a great blessing, but it’s your responsibility to seek it out and secure it.
- You are loved. Oh yes. You are loved. You are loved. You are loved. You were created in love. You were created for love. You came into this world surrounded by love, and you taught us just how much love a human heart can hold. In all the times in all the places in all the world, never has a mama loved a baby as much as I love you. You are loved.
And sadly, we all know that children learn from what we do rather than what we say. And so after compiling this list of all that I wish to say to these three, I sit here fully convicted in my heart that these can’t be mere words. They can’t be written down in a book (or on the web) and be taken as true. I must show them and live them. My actions must speak these words much louder than my mouth. They must emanate from my heart as well as my lips if they are to reach deep into their hearts and take root.
And I hope that in the end, the message gets through, because all children need to know that this world is theirs to experience, and savor, and breathe in. We must pray that never will anything clip these wings that were given to them to fly.
We must speak love and do love and be love so they can feel loved. Because in the end, what is more important than that?
About Amanda Knapp
Amanda Knapp is a writer and stay at home mom to her three little girls. When she’s not busy playing dress up or kissing boo boos, she writes about it all on her blog, Indisposable Mama.