There’s one thing most every parent can agree on — you want your children to do better than you. As a son or daughter of your parents, you took the baton and ran with it and hopefully you ran far enough to make them proud. But I have a different idea of how I want our children to do better than us.
Money comes and goes. Jobs seem to be as disposable as the TVs we replace every couple of years. My goal, or better yet my dream, is for our children to be free. I’m not talking bound by cages, but I want them to be free-spirited enough to follow their dreams. Free enough to know that when the day is done, the only people you have to worry about is yourself and your loved ones.
Our youngest daughter seems to embrace that at the oddest of times, and honestly it takes some getting used to not to force her into some sort of preconceived box of what a 4 four old should be. Take this last Thanksgiving: As her sister and cousins were putting on a nicely choreographed performance in my parents’ basement, our little one took it upon herself to do a little interpretative dance that was amazingly funny and beautiful. I honestly don’t think she was in the room with us; she had to be on the biggest stage in her imagination.
I realize I might be reading into a seven or eight-minute dance, but she was truly in a world of her own. Some parents would have told her to stop and watch the other show (trust me, I fought the urge). But it was easy to tell she wasn’t trying to upstage anyone, she was just in her own little world. I’m proud she’s comfortable enough to do that with other people around, and maybe I should take the baton from her from time to time to run with it.
Parenting can get you down sometimes; schedules seem to get in the way, but make sure to allow your kids the freedom to experience that stage in their imagination, because it might be the best show they’ll ever see.
On a side note, have a great holiday and here’s hoping you and your family take some time to dance like no one is watching. You’ll be surprised to see how footloose you can be when you don’t mind kicking up your heels.
– Jim Pesta is a Parenting Program participant and father of two girls.