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Today, raising children is tricky business, and when I say tricky, I really mean downright terrifying. We live in a very scary world, and thinking of the atrocities that are taking place outside of our safe little bubble can really give someone an ulcer or heart-attack. And I don’t think that the world was ever less scary. As a matter of fact, there were much worse times to raise children. It’s just that when you have your own child, your world changes and everything you do from then on becomes monumental and terrifying and incredible all at the same time. Nothing can prepare you for this experience. Even if you are as ready as you will ever be, you’re still not really ready.

Now that I have a few years of parenting under my belt (almost 14 to be exact), I have learned a few things. Perfection is impossible and unnecessary, and imperfection is actually really what is perfect. I hope my children find that imperfect place where they can exist happily and thrive. This imperfect place should house a good work ethic and kindness. Kindness for others and for themselves. I hope my children know the difference between being kind to themselves and feeling sorry for themselves. It’s OK to make a mistake, but you have to get right back on the horse. Feeling sorry for oneself is a barrier that can keep a person from moving forward.

I hope that my children have high moral standards and the confidence to live by these standards. I also hope they surround themselves with others who have high moral standards. Certain behavior is just not OK, no matter how people try to spin a situation. I want them to understand that standing up for what is right is not always easy, but it should be done. In the words of Spike Lee, “Do the right thing.”

Experience is so important in life. I hope they travel and expose themselves to many different people. All kinds, from everywhere in the whole world, so that their perception and frame-of-reference is vast. They should know that the small, suburban town we live in is a tiny, unique bubble, where for the most part people are kind, and caring, and share similar values. Our country is more diverse, but still a bubble compared to other countries where all people are not considered equal, or the poverty is so great that children are starving (so hard to believe that this is still happening today). These are harsh realities but these realities will help them see that they are blessed to have people who love them, a government that is as fair as it could be, a roof over their heads and stomachs full of food.

I hope the exposure to different places and people also makes them compassionate, tolerant and empathetic. I want them to be open to all people and to celebrate the differences of each culture, society and person. As long as people are not causing harm to others, we should always be open.  

Humility is an exquisite quality in a person, and I hope each one of my children possess it in abundance. I want them to serve others because they genuinely care for people, not because they want recognition or praise in return. Also, serving others is a great way to find gratitude for your own blessings. AND, I firmly believe that being grateful is the key to happiness.

Since the moment I held my first positive pregnancy test in my hand, with all of my heart and soul, I have wanted my children to be happy. And with all of my heart and soul, I hope that my example will provide my children with all of the tools they need to live a happy, fulfilling and honorable life.

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