When my son turned 2 years old, we signed him up in a well reputed daycare known for its happy, vibrant environment and competent program and staff. It was owned and managed by a brilliant lady who simply adored children. This was reflected in the daycare’s internal and external physical environments where her well chosen, children-suited, happily colored decorations were spread around to cover almost every special inch and corner. The decorations were actually laid out just right to create an aroma of everlasting love and happiness that you could almost smell as you walked into the daycare. In other words, this daycare was way more than a business; it was special.
One morning I was dropping off my son Jude, a framed poem hanging next to the signup sheet caught my attention. I read it and was mesmerized by the power, beauty and wisdom of its words. It’s not unusual to find such a magnificent piece of literature in this place. Immediately, I told the receptionist that this poem should be made available to parents. Sure enough, there was a stack of papers carrying this poem placed next to the signup sheet the next morning; I stuck my copy on my kitchen fridge as a constant reminder on what parenting is all about.
I looked for this poem on the net to provide its URL instead of presenting it in this article, but unfortunately, I did not find it. Sharing it with you in this article is more than a pleasure, it’s an honor. If you’ve read it before, it’s good to refresh your memory, and if you are reading it for the first time, I hope you embrace it! This poem is translated from a Welsh poem and its author is unknown. Here you go…
A FINAL THOUGHT
If I had my child to raise all over again
I’d build self-esteem first and the house later,
I’d finger paint more and point my finger less,
I’d do less correcting and more connecting,
I’d take my eyes off my watch and watch with my eyes,
I would care to know less and know to care more,
I’d take more hikes and fly more kites.
I’d stop playing seriously and seriously play,
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars,
I’d do more hugging and less tugging,
I’d see the oak tree in the acorn more often,
I would be firm less and affirm much more,
I’d teach less about the love of power and more about the power of love.
This poem brings to mind what Billy Crystal told Marisa Tomei in the movie “Parental Guidance” (if you have not seen this movie, please do); he said “You did not come with an instructions book”. Don’t you think that this poem holds all the instructions we need to raise self-confident, healthy, fulfilled, happy, kind, and resilient children, simply through the power of having enough wisdom to differentiate what is more important? Isn’t that what good parenting is all about? We MUST differentiate and act on what’s more important in every aspect of upbringing our children.
I was happy to come across this poem, my only wish is that I had been exposed to its power before having my first child. I would have definitely done a better job. It is common that parents make their biggest mistakes while raising their eldest child; the first child usually lightens the parental way. Raising children requires experience just like everything else, but with one main difference; faults can be irreversible and can destroy promising futures.
Children who feel less than a whole are usually products of broken homes and they tend to articulate this self insecurity by exhibiting out-of-the-norm, disruptive, or self-destructive behaviors and lifestyles. A broken home is applicable to any home that does not provide a loving nurturing environment for children’s abilities and dreams regardless of the external or economical factors. Let’s all make sure we have solidly-built homes, not houses, for sustainable capable humankind. We can do it by following the simple recipe of differentiating what is more important!
I will leave you with this food for thought: my niece once wondered how humankind managed to make having a driving license a prerequisite for driving a car, but overlooked making some parental guidance/license mandatory prior to having and raising a child…