I while ago, I made myself a promise. I promised that my daughter(s), if/when I have them, will know that they are beautiful. I promised to do everything in my power to raise my children, girls or boys, to be literate, elegant, and confident individuals.
I don't think parenting is easy. As more and more of my friends begin having kids, the more slack I learn to cut my own parents. I think everybody says at some point that they are not going to raise their children the way their parents raised them. I was one of those people, for sure. In a recent Huffington Post article, Jennifer Edwards describes herself as one of these moms, yet she found herself resorting to some of her mother's more conservative rules as a way to combat her son's diagnosis of ADD. I was raised in a conservative environment, not unlike Edwards, and sometimes felt excluded from my group of peers because of a lack of common entertainment experience, I learned to love reading, crafts, being outdoors, and animal life. I also had an advantage over my cartoon-raised peers when I entered first grade already reading and graduated from college a semester shy of four years when many were graduating in five or more years. All this to say, my parents did something right.
There are still things I plan to do differently. I wish that, when I was younger, I'd been told that I was cute or pretty more. I know it sounds shallow, but I grew up craving that. I sought male attention because I wanted to know that someone thought I was beautiful. This wasn't right. Bad things happen when girls seek out boys to boost their self-esteem, as many, many people know. I don't want my daughters to feel that way. I want them to know that any boy they look twice at better be worthy of their affection, because they deserve to be treated like ladies. My sons will, in turn, will know to be polite and respectful. I will learn to pick my battles. My parents were very strict when it came to the music I listened to. While I realize that this category is close to TV watching in that it is a form of media and can subconsciously convey ideas, I don't see myself limiting my children to Christian music only, as my parents did for me.
I hope to raise healthy, happy kids in a home with loving parents who have a healthy relationship with each other. I will do my best, just as my parents did their best to raise me. There are so many children growing up in broken homes, in inadequate public education, on a fast food diet and cartoons, that if I can contribute even a small bit to the future of this country and the world, I would consider myself successful.