I’m sitting here at my computer, with my four-year old son Dylan sitting at the table across from me.
He’s on the other computer, playing Peppa Pig games. I’m supposed to be staring at my computer thinking about blog topics for the day, but instead I’m staring at him and thinking about how unbelievable he is. How smart (as he navigates the laptop like a professional, even with his tiny little fingers), how funny, how mischievous, how cunning, how playful, how joyful. I’m thinking about how full of life and love he is right now.
And I’m thinking about the tremendous weight, as a parent, of helping him navigate through this complex and layered and wonderful and terrible and beautiful and disappointing thing called life.
I’m thinking about how to help him understand the significance and beauty in things like marriage equality, while also understanding things like the devastating and far-reaching cycle of racism. I’m thinking about how to keep him free from crippling fears terrorists would like to instill in him, fears that would prevent him from flying or visiting large cities or participating in events that draw big crowds, while also arming him with the tools to avoid getting himself in dangerous situations when possible.
I’m thinking about how to help him be an active participant in saving the earth.
And saving the whales, saving the neighborhood, saving the bees, saving money, saving his sister from those that would try and hurt her, saving the third snack for later… I’m thinking about how to encourage him to run off and start a rock band or backpack in Australia while also trying to hold him close and plot a much more conventional path for him. I’m thinking about how to teach him about what’s most important in this world, and then realizing that there are so many things to choose from.
I’m thinking about how I can embrace whatever he chooses to do in his career path (though admittedly I’m a bit concerned about his current declaration that he is going to be Spiderman when he grows up), whomever he embarks on romantic relationships with, wherever he chooses to call home, whatever cause he chooses to stand by… while also making sure that he, for lack of a better way to say it, uses his powers for good and not evil.
I’m thinking about how on earth any parent can successfully do any of these things.
The world is vast, and there are so many things to understand. It’s confusing and complex, and it’s hard to know where to begin.
But you know what? Right now, he just wants me to play “Snorts and Crosses” with him. And that’s not complicated at all. That’s actually quite simple. So maybe I don’t have to figure it all out. Maybe instead I just have to love him. To show him that at this moment, here, he is safe and he is loved and there are awesome games on the computer. Maybe that is enough.
As educators, we have the amazing opportunity to stand in front of children, some young and some not so young, and be a positive mark on their day. Can we “change their lives” for the better? Can we take away all they may be struggling with? Can we always “make it better”? Maybe and maybe not… but we can just be with them, today. We can show them love and a safe space, today. And maybe that is enough too.
How can you just love today?
For breakfast I had a cup of coffee and a handful of cheerios.
Author Profile: @erikap