I so enjoy being a father. It is my most important and satisfying job. I have a responsibility to my child to help her define how the rest of her experience will be tinted. That blows my mind, its an amazing thing to watch the transference of knowledge and perception to the only legacy that will matter on that last day.
We are very open-minded. We teach acceptance, it is a core principle. We try and teach logic and understanding-but an understanding that the current perception is transitive and based on personal experience, as experience changes so does perception. That seems heavy for an 8 year old but we observe the effects pretty commonly. She likes certain age-appropriate songs I find objectionable and she will advise “We all have our opinions, Dad, and in life, their will be differing opinions”, cool, that’s good logic.
We try and base our decisions on what is right and fair. We try to listen and understand the story before reacting.We try and teach that everything a human does is based on perception. Men kill men because of differing perceptions. You have to figure out your own truth to things. We teach action reaction, make a choice, good or bad there will be a repercussion. We try not to get angry when she chooses poorly, it is her cognizant decision to do something-she understood she was agreeing to the risk of punishment when he made the choice. There is the occasional disappointment with the choice that she made although the decisions themselves are relatively trivial at this age but the logic behind the choice is what I want her to understand. We use each incident as a learning experience.
When we pick D up, first thing she tells us is if she got in trouble for that day and if so why? What choices did she make? We discuss it, what was she thinking at the moment she made the decision. Then we figure out severity. The thing we cant abide is cruelty- so that is straight to bed no dinner, lay in your bed for 8 hours, write a letter describing why you did what you did and what you were feeling, etc, etc kinda infraction. Misbehaving, acting out, doing the occasional prank; some of that we chalk up to being a kid, some of that she gets in trouble for. We handle each situation independently.
Often i wonder if this stuff will last with her and if it is sinking in, but i think it is. I remember this time we were at a restaurant and Dorothy was two. We were nagging her to say no sir, yes ma’am, excuse me and so on and if you have met D, you know how that has worked out, she is very polite. But I remember someone giving us a hard time about her being to young to understand, that it was better to wait till she was older. All Sarah and I could think was, well if not now, when, what age do we start teaching our principles? This is how we have chosen to raise our daughter. And it’s cool. Sometimes I feel so over the top happy just girlishly giddy because I know her and have helped shape her.
We wont really know if any of this worked until much later down the road. But we have made conscience decisions to raise her in this manner. And we just really enjoy it.
I hope you enjoy your kids, cause does anything else matter? Really?