It’s back-to-school season, and as a parent, I’m faced with many challenges — what school to send my child to, what types of clothes to buy him, what types of food to feed him, and which activities to sign him up for. Of course, while these decisions seem as simple as making a choice – in the back of my mind all I can think is “What if I choose the wrong path?”
If you’re a parent – particularly a mother (because somehow we let these plagues manifest in our souls for what seems like forever) – you know my pain. What if I mess up my kid? What if I make the wrong decision for him? What if I don’t do enough to set him up for success?
The problem is the answers are rarely clear. So, instead, I try to focus on what I want for my children and try to move intentionally through this parenting thing (because we all know it’s easy to get lost in all the decisions). I am choosing to reflect on my hopes for him as he moves through this crazy world.
I hope you’re kind. Kahlil Gibran said, “Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution.” I hope you stand up for others and yourself. I hope you see people as inherently good, and always look for a way to be compassionate. I hope you are one of the good guys.
I hope you’re humble. I hope you know that there are ideas that are better than yours and there are causes deeper than your own. I hope you understand that there’s always learning to be done by others and there’s no such thing as being the best at everything.
I hope you’re a hard worker. I hope you learn how to roll up your sleeves and get dirty. I hope you keep going even when the going gets tough. I hope you’re the one that everyone can count on to be there even when most people aren’t. I hope you have the courage to try and the ability to get up, dust yourself off, and keep going after you’ve failed. I hope you look at challenges as adventures. I hope you have guts and have gumption. I hope you have grit.
I hope you have integrity. I hope you can easily see right from wrong, and have the courage to choose what’s right, even when everyone else is choosing something else. I hope you have the courage to speak your mind and know the truth in your heart, especially when others are silent on issues that matter.
I hope you have a good sense of humor. I hope you’re silly. I hope you love to laugh and can find humor in most situations. I hope you find joy easily and are flexible enough to go with the flow when needed.
I hope you continue to grow. I hope you see that there is learning in every failure, success in every mistake, and the sun after every storm. I hope you choose to see the positive and encourage others along with you.
There are so, so many more hopes I have for my children. I realize as a parent I have a great influence on the traits my child inherits — but I also understand that starting now, he’ll spend just as much, as if not more, time away from me, under the influence of others, than he will at home.
Even typing that freaks me out a little. This reminds me I need to be intentional – now more than ever before – to be sure the activities, the people, the experiences I give my child are worthy. Are valuable. Are foundational.
So, I guess I conclude this message with hope for myself.
I hope that I have enough strength and insight to choose programs, teachers, coaches, and influencers that can give my child the skills he needs to be everything I know he can be.
I hope I am intentional.