Parenting is a tough job. With so many competing forces fighting for our children’s attention and society telling us what successful kids should look like, it can be hard to stay focused on the things that truly matter.
In a culture that uses popularity, athleticism, talent, and straight A’s as benchmarks for success, it’s challenging to be the type of parent who champions instead for compassion, kindness, empathy, and inclusiveness.
“Today I learned that I am raising the kind of kid who sees a waitress at a restaurant drop the stack of plates and cutlery she’s carrying, and leaps out of his seat to help her pick them up.
I don’t care that he gets good grades.
I don’t care whether or not he is popular.
I don’t care whether or not he is talented.
I don’t care if he is good at sports.
I don’t care if he keeps his room clean.
I don’t care how well he does on standardized testing.
I don’t care care if he stars in the school play, or scores the most goals, or places first in the competition.
None of these things matter much to me.
I care that he apologizes to the cat when he accidentally bumps into her.
I care that he takes his little brother to public washrooms.
I care that he spends his hard-earned money on surprises for others.
I care that he writes notes, telling people how much he cares for them.
I care that he sees a child sitting alone and invites them to play.
I care that he stands up for others.
I care that he stands up for himself.
I care that he hates “funny” YouTube videos where an animal or person gets hurt or is teased.
I care that he considers Terry Fox his [favorite] super hero.
I care that he encourages others to keep trying.
I care that he feels deeply and loves unconditionally.
I care that he lends a hand, an ear, and a shoulder to anyone who needs it.
And I care that when he hears the sound of dishes come crashing down, and sees a red-cheeked waitress scrambling to pick up the fallen objects without calling more attention to herself, his instinct is not to laugh, but to hop up, unprovoked and unannounced, and begin gathering dirty dishes off the floor.
That is the kind of kid I want to raise. That is the kind of person I want to send out into the world. And that is the kind of young man I am so proud to call mine.”