I don’t have children.
This shouldn’t come as a shocker to anyone who knows me even one iota. It’s not that I don’t like kids, although they do make me nervous for reasons I won’t go in to right now; it’s that I simply have not had them yet. Having said that, I think about the idea of having kids fairly often.
Something that I’ve been thinking about quite a bit recently is developing habits that my children will follow. I’m not just talking about how I want to lead by example, (though I do want to do that, of course) but I’m more specifically talking about how I don’t like the idea of disciplining my children for habits they picked up from me in the first place.
For example: Yesterday I was eating Christmas cookie number six (via Samantha, my wonderful Pastry-chef [so yeah, they’re delicious] Fiance) and I really had crumbs and powdered sugar everywhere. In my head, I justified the mess, and decided that I would clean it up when I had time at ‘insert vague later moment here.’
As I sat there in my own mess, it flitted through my mind that if my future child were to do the same thing, my reaction would probably be 1. A little disappointed and 2. I would ask/tell them to clean up themselves and the mess. I didn’t really feel bad until I saw my future child look back at me, with hurt on their face, and ask me “Dad, how come you don’t clean up when you eat cookies?”
Yeah, my future three year old is very articulate; I am aware that this is a fantasy; please allow it to me for a little bit longer.
Needless to say, (I hope) I had cleaned up my mess within seconds after that. I had also decided to forego any further cookie eating, as it seemed pretty likely that I had already reached three times the amount that I would allow my future child to have.
Someone told me once that the most important things in child-rearing were love and consistency. I respect that person a lot, so I really took those ideals to heart. As a person who doesn’t have children, I have never had the ability to put anything I’ve heard into action in any way, except that I am consistently a little nervous around kids but I love the idea of having my own. In any case, I’m not sure if that person was correct, but the consistency thing really sticks out to me, and that’s part of the reason I’ve been thinking about this ‘discipline and habits’ thing. I know Love will also be very important, because as humans we’re fallible, and that means we won’t always be consistent, and we can’t expect our kids to be either.
Probably those are important for a bunch of other reasons too, and hopefully I’ll figure that out some more as I go.