My two daughters are as different as night and day. My eldest daughter is your typical eight-year-old, she loves Barbie dolls, princesses and the concept of happily-ever-after. Her definition of a princess is someone like Cinderella, pretty, lovable and much-loved by the prince. My little one's concept of a princess is quite different, to her a princess is someone like Mulan or Pocahontas a warrior, independent and someone who can take care of herself even when the prince is gone.
Yesterday afternoon the four of us were on the road. Hubby was driving and everyone seemed a little quiet inside the car. All of us were lost in our own thoughts when suddenly my three-year-old daughter blurted out, "Dad I want to have a boyfriend today!", she announced nonchalantly. Her dad was at a lost for words. He looked at me for support and I just shrugged my shoulders trying to stop myself from giggling. She sounded so serious and from the looks of things she was thinking about it for the last 5 minutes.
As calmly as I could I asked her why. And she says, "Because I want to have someone to marry me and hold my hands like you and dad." I could not stop myself from giggling now. All this time she was talking her face was serious like she was really thinking about it hard. I said, "But honey you are still young...you still have a lot of years to go yet before you can actually have one." She looked like she was considering what I was saying and then she said, "you mean I have to grow old before I could have one? Oh man!" I desperately tried to change the topic and veered away from the 'boyfriend' talk.
I am quite amazed at how they could like the same things and yet make different choices. As young as they are they are showing their uniqueness. The way they react to different things gives me a glimpse of their future choices and preferences.
I came across this beautiful article from L. Batra, it's about "Raising Good Children." Thought I'd share it with you. Here goes:
As parents we set the model for what our children see as important to us. Every day we are faced with many choices. The personal values we have help us to make those choices and so there is no better time than the present to "practice what we preach."
What we hold true in our lives is demonstrated by the everyday examples that we set in our lives. The "little things" are the big things when it comes to developing moral fiber in our children's lives. The way in which we respond to needs, the attitudes we take in accomplishing our chores, the tone of voice we use in answering questions are all essential in character education.
Virtues are objectively good human qualities; they have a claim on our personal and collective conscience. How do we share these with our children? Here are a few tips from the research:
Spend time together, learn to really listen, and talk through issues and how your family would deal with them. Show your children they are a priority in your life.
Talk about the things that are important to you. Take an example from a television or news article and ask your family "what would we do in our home if this happened?"
Model the actions you expect from your children. Respect is a cornerstone of good character. It is essential to value the individuality of our children and treat them the way we desire that they treat others. Look for words of character at school or other places in your community and the opportunity to explain what it means in your family.
Raise a child with character, a child who will do the right things, and make the right choices in the journey of life.