The older my daughter gets, the heavier my burden of responsibility. And I’m not just talking about provision of food, clothing, and shelter. The most challenging role for me is making sure that she becomes a well-rounded adult with a good heart.
Be nice, I always tell her. Even though I know it’s mostly the nice ones who get hurt the most. But at the same time, I would hate for her to be one of the mean ones. And so I tell her to avoid mean friends, as well, on the general premise that you are the company you keep.
How do you instill those age-old lessons to a child who picks weeds for flowers and innocently blows dandelions she holds in her hands?
In the same vein, how do you get her to wrap her mind around a concept that might be new to her but is actually a reality outside the pages of her doodle book?
So when I said I want Raven to be nice, I meant I want her to be open-minded to the weirdness and wonders of humanity. Because we’re all a little weird. It’s when we embrace our idiosyncrasies that we realize how important acceptance is to our individual and collective happiness.
As long as you’re not hurting other people, that’s all that matters.
And so after telling her a fairytale story I made up during her bedtime about a certain Princess Rebecca who wanted to talk to birds that she accidentally turned into a bird herself because she didn’t follow the old lady’s instructions (Don’t ask. My creative wires blew a fuse.), I mentioned about boys who like to wear dresses. I just had to film her reaction. It was priceless!
One thing I noticed, though, as difficult as it was for her to grasp the idea, there was no hate. Just maybe a childish amusement over something that’s novel to her.
This kiddo and I have a lot more to discuss.
*Raven at 3 years old