I never in a million years thought I would be a mother to two boys. I wanted at least one girl to balance out my family of four. Although, I’m forever grateful for my sons. They teach me so much and vice versa. They constantly show me boys and girls are quite different but the differences are not always the same. I am intentionally raising them to be well-adjusted kids that love and respect themselves and others. This blog post is personal. I am sharing how and why I’m raising Clark and Stone to be kind. Ellen Degeneres says it Monday-Friday – be kind to one another.
Raising Clark and Stone
I love Clark and Stone. Becoming a mother has been one of the most rewarding roles in my life. I adore them. I am in complete awe of them. However, the world has changed and it scares me to think of their lives without me in it. Values and morals have changed. Children are being raised differently from how I was raised. Parents spend more time working than ever before. Children are exposed to things way sooner than I would like. Parenthood is not for the faint of heart.
This is why it is important for me to raise them well and to help them now. Hopefully, they will be well equipped for adulthood. Beginning with the little things, I allow Clark and Stone to have an opinion. It’s equally important for them to know the “why” behind things. Critical thinking is essential as an adult. I think it’s important that children aren’t constantly told, “Because I said so.” If you don’t learn to think for yourself, you can’t do much unless you’re told. Adversity is a part of life and I want my boys to be prepared when they are faced with it.
I also treat them the way I would like to be treated. This is an early foundational block for teaching respect. I say please and thank you to them because I expect them to say it to me. When I’m wrong, I apologize and admit it because I want them to do that for me. I struggle with perfectionism and when I catch myself placing that horrible trait on them, I apologize and I ask them to hold me accountable.
Poor behavior in public really brings out the worst in me, though. I am so strung out on wanting them to be “perfect” that sometimes I strip the joy from them being kids. They point it out to me and I apologize. I show them that mommy makes mistakes too. Hopefully, this is creating an environment where they feel like they can come to me for anything. I want to be a judgment-free zone for them. I want to be their safe place. As much as I like things to be perfect, I allow them to be imperfect for the most part. I’m still working on those public places, though. Target or Whole Foods turns me into a crazy lady. Lol. If you could follow me down the aisle, you’d hear me reciting, “This is not a play space.” It’s quite comical and embarrassing if I may add.
I created a creed for my boys to live by. I am faced with the reality of knowing I won’t be here forever, so Clark and Stone need a moral compass that I know they will have their entire lives. Although, I am confident they will grow up to make me proud. The foundation has been set with the following.
Walters Boy Creed
Be Nice – It takes way more energy to be anything other than nice. It takes a lot for me to not like a person and not be nice to them. I’m usually nice to people I’m not fond of because I truly believe hurt people, hurt people. I want Clark and Stone to be nice young boys that grow up to be nice young men.
Have Fun– Life should be fun. I like to have fun so I want them to as well. I have a poster on Clark’s bedroom wall that says break the rules occasionally. You can’t be so serious all the time.
Work Hard– Nothing worth having will come easily. I don’t like to “fix” everything for them so I let them sweat it out a bit and try to figure things out. I don’t allow them to give up.
Love God and Jesus– I am a Christian. I believe God and Jesus are responsible for everything in my life. I’m not at church as much as I used to be but I still give thanks and the glory to God. I pray for them every night and we say our grace before every meal.
Love School– Education opens so many doors. A love for school will take you far and abroad to places you could’ve never imagined. However, you gotta love it to get through it.
Love My Family and Friends– This is imperative. Family is so important. My cousins were my first best friends. My grandparents were the biggest blessings in my life. They bridged the gap when I became a teen monster and drove my parents crazy. Also, friends become family. Take care of your friends and learn how to be a good friend. Community is there when you need it. You can’t build it when you need it. It has to already be in place.
Be Great Listeners– It’s a lost art form. I’m also guilty. It drives me nuts when someone will ask me a question after I just gave the answer. I want Clark and Stone to learn to listen and to understand, not to just respond. Most people do the latter.
We never quit because we never give up– Again, you have to work hard. I want them to be able to say they gave something their all before they walked away. The fruits of your labor bring the best success.
We respect ourselves and others– Probably the most important next to loving God and Jesus. How you view yourself will dictate and set boundaries for how you allow people to treat you and how you will treat others. This is key for my boys becoming men.
We don’t make excuses– Oh boy! I could go on and on about this. Excuses are those stories that people share that have nothing to do with the point. They drive me NUTS! Accountability is key. I tell them to just apologize instead of offering the long “why” they didn’t make the best choice. It’s just best to own it right out of the gate. People will respect you more for it. No one likes smoke blown their way.
Kindness is So Gangster
I love being a mother. It is by far the hardest and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life. Sometimes I’m up all night thinking about how I’ve failed them. Unfortunately, we don’t get to shield the bad from our children. I want them to learn to forgive me when I disappoint them. Disappointment is inevitable in human relationships. This is why I raise them to be kind.
Kindness offers forgiveness and brings joy. Kindness gives an unexpected smile to someone’s day. I want people to experience the blessing of who they are in their presence. That is what I feel when I’m in the presence of kind people. It warms my heart and it places the biggest smile on my face. I want Clark and Stone to offer that to the world and the people in their lives. It’s why I’m raising them to be kind.
If you’re a parent, please share some of your parenting wins. We all have them.