I was raised by my parents to believe that you had a moral obligation to try and help save the world.
My best friend, Megan, and I have conversations all the time about the way we are raising our children. Sometimes, the realizations we come to about how we are doing it are entertaining. Like the day Megan confessed to me that she was sure she was leading her girls into a life of emotional eating because every time one of them was cranky, she offered them a cookie. Or like the time I confessed that sometimes, when I need a nap, the rule on snacks is ‘if you can open it, you can eat it’ because when this pregnant mamma is tired, she could care less how many packs of fruit snacks and Capri Suns her children consume while they watch Sponge Bob silently and she dozes in and out on the couch.
We laugh about the fact that they are slightly spoiled, we joke about what they are learning from us, we giggle about their imaginary ‘therapy funds’ and how they are growing faster than the college funds. We’re certain we are causing some kind of permanent damage every time we lose our cool, forget to wash the right t-shirt for spirit day or jump in horror to grab a sippy cup out of a toddler’s hands, because as soon as said toddler comes walking out of the bedroom with it, we realize we have NO IDEA what day it was filled.
Our conversations about our children are mostly funny. They are how we survive this motherhood gig. In reality, we don’t think we do such a bad job. We don’t really believe they are damaged. We are often delighted to acknowledge their sweet spirits, kind hearts and senses of humor.
Becoming mothers has changed us, though. The things we think about are different. The way we perceive the world is different. Our hearts and our minds have been forever changed by these little people God decided to loan to us. Motherhood is definitely an evolving process. Every day, there is something else to battle, something else to think about, something else to worry about when you lay your head on your pillow at night.
While our conversations are often light, they have recently started to become a little more intense. On my 32nd birthday, Megan and I both cried and mourned together as we talked about the little souls in Connecticut whose loans were up. We spent that December 14th, and the days and weeks after it, wondering why things like this happen, trying to make sense of things that, frankly, make no sense.
We didn’t talk much about gun control or mental health. We weren’t so concerned with new laws or old laws or the way in which the government handles such things. What we talked about, mostly, was how we wanted our children to have a moral obligation to try and help save the world, not destroy it. How we want to raise the kind of people who are tolerant, loving, compassionate, brave, educated…
At the end of the day, Megan and I have different views on things, from politics to religion, marriage to finances, style to sex. The reason we’ve been friends as long as we have, however, is because, even where we differ, we are able to have discussions about big issues without anyone getting offended. I say what’s on my mind. She says what’s on hers. We bitch and complain about the world in which we live and, recently, we brainstorm ways to make it better even though we have different views on how it got so screwed up in the first place.
We have conversations. We share ideas. We open up discussions that we may not be ready to tackle with other people quite yet. We’re friends. She’s my person. I’m hers. It’s easy to have these big conversations within the comforts of our living rooms, our pedicure chairs or on a Starbucks patio. The challenge we’ve been facing recently, however, is trying to figure out a way to get others involved in the conversation. How to delicately bring into light the discussion of raising your children with a moral code and where, exactly, that moral code comes from without anyone freaking out or getting Jesus or, as the case may be, Anti-Jesus, crazy. I wish I could tell you that we’ve come up with a solution. I can’t. What I can tell you though is we may have figured out that there is no delicate way to do it at all. It’s not a delicate issue and someone is always offended, somewhere, about something.
Are we naïve in believing we can save the world by opening up a conversation?
If that’s the worst thing they say about us, we’ll be alright.
My husband read a book about ten years ago. It was given to him by a friend and it was written by a football coach. I never read it myself but I can tell you that ten years into his coaching career, my husband still uses it as a reference guide. One of the most prominent lessons he learned from the book was that he wouldn’t know what kind of coach he was until his players were all adults, men, husbands, fathers. See, the author believed that more importantly than teaching his players about screen passes, offensive strategy and conditioning techniques, he was partly responsible for teaching them about life, being a good man and how to act in the world around them. My husband loves to win games, win championships, don’t get me wrong. He’s an amazing football coach. He is just as pleased, however, when one of his boys graduates with a 4.0 and gets into a BSC school or starts a non-profit and helps an oldlady cross the street.
He’s been getting in on the conversation, too. And we know, for certain, that we won’t really know what kind of parents we are until our children are grown with children of their own.
Are he and I naïve in thinking we can save the world by raising our own brand of superheroes?
If that’s the worst thing they say about us, we’ll be alright, too.
Happy Friday, friends.
go. do. be.