“Demonstrate refinement in everything you do.” It was a fortune that was in my cookie when I ordered Chinese food the other night for dinner. It gave me pause. So much seems to be happening at all times throughout my life that I often feel like I’m barely keeping my head above water, let alone making sure that I don’t drown in a dignified manner. How can I manage to keep my cultured elegance in check? Who the fuck knows. So if I can’t do it for myself, how can I make sure that my kids do the same?
We grew up in a different time. Let’s face it: there are so many more things that change everything about our world now than when we were kids, and it makes everything more difficult on everyone. Social media, being accessible everywhere, the newest electronics/brand names/fads being thrown at us at every turn. We didn’t have that. We didn’t have to worry about anyone posting about us on Facebook (we just had the ol’ paper and pencil note method) or if we had the newest game system (I had the original Sega and Carmen Sandiego was a fave). So is it not as acceptable to expect kids to grow up humble, with all of the distractions that come at them constantly? In addition to that, how does one even TEACH them how to not be spoiled?
In all of the parenting books, we are told what to do and what not to do to raise independent, proper children and to try to do without driving ourselves crazy. There are so many ways to parent out there, and so many ways to make sure your kids are acting the way they should, how do you know what are the right and wrong ways to react to things, and NOT drive yourself crazy?!? You might get advice from friends, family, coworkers, a person on the street. But how do you know if it’s going to mold your children into amazing citizens without being able to flash forward twenty years into the future?
I am very old school when it comes to a lot. I believe in the way I was brought up. I am not perfect by any means, but my mom had a way about her that taught me to be civil to my enemies, take pride in what I do, and love my friends and family unconditionally, all the while standing up for what I believe in. I want my kids to have those same values, but I don’t know how to with the changes that come with the times.
I want my kids to be polite. I want them to enjoy the company of others while being fair. I want them to say please and thank you, and politely refuse when they don’t want something. I want them to appreciate what they have, and not always feel they want more. I know I have good kids, I do. I will always want more for them no matter what. I can emulate civility and humility, but what happens after that, well, who knows. And on the days that I am not perfect (well, I guess this is all the time) I can only hope that some of the values that my mom instilled in me would somehow transfer to my kids via osmosis or something.