There are many mannny things I want to teach my kids about how to be mature, healthy,happy, functioning adults in this world. I think all of the time about how I want to do this. I make conscience decisions about rewards and consequences so that I can encourage good behaviour and discourage the bad. I try to teach good character so that they can grow up to be people of integrity. All of this is challenging because I’m not the most mature, healthy, happy, functioning adult in the world! As I’ve mentioned many times in the past, I got me some issues…as do we all, to a point.
Some issues I’m very aware that I’m passing onto my kids. My temper for instance. I got it from my mom and my kids will get it from me. More specifically, J is getting it from me. It’s just not something in myself that I’ve been able to get rid of. I’ve definitely improved since my mom but I’ve got a long way to go. And now J is saddled with the same challenge.
On a more minor note, I’ve pretty much (kinda sorta) succeeded in not passing on my fear of creepy crawlies to my kids. Except for a couple of species, they both love bugs and insects. J more so, though. A couple of summers ago, she came up to me wanting help identifying the handful of crawling wormy things she was carrying in her hand and I remember I succeeded in remaining fairly calm when I told her that they were maggots and could she please get them off her hand and come into the house and wash?! And critters. She loves to rescue mice from the grips of our cat, Max. Sometimes she manages to do this quite quickly but other times Max has already had his way with them and the mice…well, they’re not in the best condition. There was the mouse that she tried to nurse back to health but had the small problem that his insides were – eh hem – on the outside. She wasn’t the least bit grossed out as I would have been.
So those are the issues I know about, but what about the issues I’m not aware I’m passing on? Particularly frustrating because, obviously, I’m not aware I’m doing it! Until I am…and then is it too late?
J has a very hard time with making mistakes. She can’t stand making them. It affects many areas of her learning. Writing, Math, and lately music. I was helping her practice music the other day and she broke down in tears because she wasn’t “getting it” and just kept saying, “I CAN”T do it!”. I was perplexed because I’ve never told her that she had to be perfect. In fact, many times in many different ways I’ve told her that mistakes are a necessary part of learning. And I couldn’t recall a concrete example where she would’ve observed me being hard on myself. Denial? Perhaps. Anyway, I decided, she couldn’t have gotten this trait from me. And Adrian isn’t like this at all. So, this must be one thing that she got all by herself. Then then the other day I was relaying this story to a friend and how J kept comparing herself to others who were playing “perfectly”. I was saying, “It’s like if she can’t do it as well as someone else, she thinks she can’t do it all!” And BANG! It was like I was hit in the head with a revelation. I have thought those very words about myself and writing. There are many wonderful writers out there and since I can’t write like them that means I’m not a good writer. Now, I don’t think I’ve ever said that out loud; it’s just been a feeling. But it’s there, and I’ve obviously passed it onto her somehow…someway.
How annoying that it comes back to me…AGAIN!!! Grrr. 🙂