Let me preface this preaching with a musical interlude:
I’ve been listening to a playlist in my car of new songs I’ve purchased in the order I’ve purchased them which is how I heard just now, on my way here, Believer by Imagine Dragons followed by Hall of Fame by The Script. “My life, my love, my drive, it came from PAIN!” followed by “You can be the greatest, you can be the best, dedicate yourself and you’ll be standing in the hall of fame.” As parenting philosophies according to popular music go, there’s a pretty clear winner in this battle.
Which made me start thinking about how children are influenced by their parents long after childhood ends.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, kids actually do listen to their parents and they really do internalize those things we say most often. As teens and adults, a lot of those things we said often become the voice in their head that guides them. For better or for worse.
I know of too many people for whom the voice in their head is that of fear or doubt, indecision, conformity, derision, punishment, undeservingness, lack of acceptance. It’s the voice that tells you you’ll never succeed, you’re too stupid or fat, too weak or too weird, that you should let someone else do it, that you’re not ok the way you are, that you should just melt into the background because every action is too much of a risk.
And with the lyrics of those two songs echoing in my head, I’m determined not to be that voice.
I want to be the voice in my kids’ heads that says…
You can do it
I believe in you
Make good decisions
Do your best
Take care of yourself
Be respectful of others
Brush your teeth
Just try to go pee before we leave the house
Eat more good food than treats
I love you!
And then I hear my son say to himself, “That’s ok. Twy again. You can do it,” and I feel like maybe I’m doing an ok job at this whole parenting thing.