Let me start this off by stating that what I am writing about is a very unpopular opinion. The truth is, we all have an opinion. This just happens to be mine. It does not make it right or wrong, it is just the way I see it. You can take it or leave it. My opinion will change nothing.
Now a days, I see so many articles and Facebook posts about how kids today are whiny little bitches! I see it being said all the time. Many folks hate the idea of everyone getting a participation trophy when they play on a team because they feel that it is raising a bunch of pussies. I can tell you that when I was a child, and I was picked as the last kid a lot, it was painful. I took that in and it added greatly to my already lack of self esteem that I carried around on a daily basis. I was a child that came from a home where my parents didn’t build us up all the time and tell us we were awesome. So every time I was reminded of this outside of my home, it just reassured me that I was in fact NOT AWESOME!! Growing up with that in your head on the daily, takes a long time to try and reverse those thoughts.
So the other day my son came up to me and told me about something that broke my heart. At his school they have this incentive program where kids that follow the rules and do as they are suppose to, they can gain golden tickets. They turn in their golden tickets at the end of the week, and every week they have a drawing and pick a winner from the bin. The more golden tickets you have , the better chance you have of winning. I think it is a great thing that they do for the kids. My son came up to me and we had this conversation about it:
The Boy – “You know how I have been trying to win the golden ticket thing since I was in kindergarten?”
Me – “Yes.”
The Boy – “Well… it has been three years and I have tried really hard to win. I think I just have really bad luck that follows me because in three years I have never won. Sometimes I will try extra hard to get tickets and put them in, but I never win no matter what I do. But I am completely okay with it. I am just not going to do it anymore. I have bad luck so I will probably never win it anyway.”
*At this point he could see I was feeling kind of bad about what he was saying and so he said this.
The Boy – “Don’t be upset about it. I am completely okay with it. It’s not a big deal. I just have bad luck in my life and that is how it is.”
Now listen… as a mom, I have that mama bear quality when one of my children are hurt or upset where I want to make it all better. It is instinctively inside of me to want to fix things for them. I am not going to apologize for that!! When someone hurts my child, I become a crazy lady!! And yes, I wanted to go down to the school, and make them pick his name!!! But I also know that what he is experiencing is life. Just simply life! The thing that breaks my heart is I witnessed the very moment when my son lost that magical feeling of hope, and just became okay with it. The moment of when he lost his belief in the fact that he can actually do anything. The truth is… life is not easy. And the truth is, not all of us can accomplish everything. We DO NOT always win everything, and truthfully, we will not always be able to do everything it is that we want to do. I am 42 years old and still waiting to take that dream trip to Paris!
As a mom, I have always told my kids they can be anything and do anything. The world is their playground to do as they please. And even though I have always said that to my kids, I saw my 10 year old lose that hope simply because of his own experiences.
I will still tell my children that they can accomplish everything. And I will still tell my children they are wonderful! So many people disagree with this. They believe that you should never make your children feel special at all because the world will not see them as special or wonderful. I agree with that… except that the world and life will show my children well enough on it’s own that they are not special or wonderful. No one in this world will treat them like they are amazing. Life will knock them around the same way it does all of us. And they will have to learn to overcome obstacles all on their own. But like hell it is going to start with me!! I want to be the ONE place that they know is not going to fail them! I want to be the ONE place they can go and always know that I will see them as wonderful no matter what.
When I think back to my childhood, even if I had parents that had told me I was great all the time, I know for certain that everything I experienced in my life, from heartbreak, to not getting the job, to being the last picked, are all the things that showed me exactly how life is. The hard knocks of life!
I just want my kids to know that even when life is knocking them around all over the place… the one soft place to rest for a bit will always be with me. I am not a perfect parent. I fully admit that I am in no way perfect at this parenting gig! The way I really feel is, I love my kids and I want them to succeed in all things. The reality is, they won’t succeed in all things. They will learn that totally and completely without the help of me. So yes, I will still tell my children that they are wonderful, and I will still tell them that they can accomplish anything. What they experience in this life will add to making them exactly what they become. I want them to always think fondly of their time with me though. I want them to never question the fact that I always have believed that they can be and do anything.
Don’t twist my words. I say no to my kids all the time. That is because I am not in a situation where I can give them everything they want at all times. I am not talking about buying your kids a bunch of shit they don’t need. I am talking about building up their self esteem. I am talking about building them up as Human Beings. Reality is what it is! Nothing you say to your kids will change the reality of life. You can tell them they suck or tell them they are great, it will not change what life throws at them. But it may change how they end up handling it.
All I know is that by telling my children that I think they are awesome, it is doing nothing but letting them know that I, their mom, think that they are awesome! It is not making them pussies that can’t handle life. It is just reassuring them that even if the world is shitty and hard sometimes, and things will not always be easy… no matter what, I will always think they are awesome!