Recently, I was sitting at dinner with my wife and kids and discussing the mundane issues of daily life. At one point my wife mentioned to me something about putting the kids in camp for an extra few days. My six-year-old daughter piped up and cheerfully asked, “Because you don’t want to deal with the kids, right?”
I felt a little bit like dirt.
That is really not how I want my kids to think we look at them. We so easily overlook how perceptive our kids are from the youngest ages, and how they pick up everything we say, whether we think they are listening or not. No doubt we have used the phrase “dealing with the kids” numerous times before – look, there’s no question, they can be tough to manage. They take a ton of energy – not just physically but mentally and emotionally as well. They suck up time like a miniature screaming snot-nosed black hole. But we should not be talking about our kids, or even thinking about them, as something we have to “deal with.” We love them. We admire them. We cherish them. We educate them. But we do not “deal with” them. We pour our energies into them with a deep sense of greater purpose as we try our hardest to build competent, capable, balanced human beings. It is a privilege and a responsibility. It is not a chore or a punishment.
You will note here that I am speaking primarily to myself.
But let’s all try to remember it despite the tribulations of childrearing. And let’s also remember that whatever attitude we choose, our kids will know it. How do you want your kids to feel growing up? Like a chore? Or like a precious diamond? You have a sizeable influence on which way it’s going to go.