Okay, I’m on another tangent after reading this story in the New York Times this weekend. So, here’s my deal…
Valentine’s Day is not a day for men! All the commercials: candy, jewelry, cars and flowers are geared towards women. While I loved Valentine’s Day BB (before Brennan), I now realize it as a day for people who don’t show love all year through to try to outshine one another. We have become a society of show-offs. Here’s where I tell you that before you think I’m bitter and my spouse doesn’t show me love on V-Day, I must tell you that you are wrong! Each year, my hubby falls prey (like many men) to show how much he loves me by spending the most on a beautiful bouquet or doing something incredibly romantic. I love it and I appreciate it, however, I don’t want my son to believe that this day represents the day you go over board or you are considered less than genuine in your affections if you don’t spend half your salary. Love in itself is the greatest gift and showing you love and appreciate someone all year round is better than once a year.
I was reading on a parenting website about parents creating a “bucket list” of sorts for their children. The “bucket list” is things they would like to do with their children before they become adults. I was surprised at some of the responses from parents from fishing in Alaska to an African Safari to making sure to kiss and hug them every night before they go to bed. So, reading this article got me to thinking…what things do I want to do with Brennan before he becomes an adult?
- Tell, show and help him understand about God. I want him to see and recognize that we are not alone and that God is the center of our life and all things are possible through him. He needs to experience the church, the Bible and the unmovable faith that his father and I have in God.
- Take him to Europe. I love the thought of travelling to Europe to explore the countryside, architecture, the Louvre, the Vatican and all the other landmarks that I have only read about. I want ten days so we can spend it on a trek through Europe just exploring.
- Take him on a trek through the slave trade. We know we came from Africa, but where? I want to chase our ancestry back to Africa and follow the trail from Africa to Portugal to the U.S. I learned when I was in college that my ancestry could be traced as far back to Portugal. I want to go further.
- Teach him to appreciate his heritage and explore many other cultures. I think you become well-rounded when you know many different civilizations other than your own. After all Mahatma Gandhi said, “No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive.”
- Teach him to speak another language fluently. Oh, how I wish I could speak another language fluently. The world is ever changing and the gift of being bi-lingual is one that he will appreciate throughout his lifetime.
- Take him to explore two states each summer. He needs to travel out of his comfort zone and see America the Beautiful. I want to increase his love for this country.
- Teach him how to swim. This is one item that we will never falter on. I can’t stand the thought of him not knowing how to swim.
- Teach him how to share. I want him to share not only his toys, but his time, his wealth and his abilities. I want him to know that God loves a cheerful giver and it is your right as a human to help others.
- Take him to the Caribbean. I want to watch him stick his feet in the water and his toes get sand in between them on the beaches of Mexico or the Bahamas.
- Take him to Disney World. I think that every child should experience Mickey’s hand on theirs or running through Cinderella’s castle. After all, he looks at my wedding photos (with my tiara) and says, “My mommy is a princess”.
- Teach him how to fight. I know many of you think fighting is bad and I agree that violence doesn’t solve anything, but I want him to be a strong fighter physically and mentally. I want him to learn how to defend himself against a bully. The best lesson I ever learned is that once you knock someone out, they don’t want to fight you anymore.
- Teach him how to love. I think children are taught the fundamental principles of love from their parents. I want him to see the love in my eyes that I have for him and the love I have for his dad. That is the love that will plant it’s way in his heart and make him crave what his parents have. I want him to know that heartache is a part of life and that you have to keep loving people.
- Teach him how to forgive. This is one lesson that is often overlooked when it comes to parenting. We are so busy teaching our children not to be bullies, play sports or play an instrument that we forget that they ultimately need to know that forgiveness frees you to move on. If God forgives me for sins how can I not forgive others?
- Teach him the importance of family. Your family is what you make it. It’s not always blood, but it could be your friends who become your family. We have a great group of people who love and support us at every turn and we want the same thing for Brennan. We want him to see that he needs to strengthen his familial bonds and keep in touch via handwritten letters, emails, calls and visits.
- Take him to Spain. I love the country of Spain and even though I can’t remember it much from childhood, I think it is a beautiful place full of great food, people and culture. I want him to swim off the Canary Islands.
- Teach him how to cook and sew. I know he’s a boy, but come on. He needs to know how to hem a pair of slacks and cook himself a meal so that he won’t have to wait on a woman to do it. He needs to be self-sufficient.
- Teach him the importance of money. I think that all parents should strive to teach your child how to balance a checkbook, credit and debt. It wasn’t a lesson we learned and we’re trying to rebuild for him.
- Teach him about politics. Not what political party he should be a part of, but the necessary fundamentals of our government so that he can be a concerned citizen that believes in exercising his right to vote.
- Teach him the lesson of defeat. Life is not fair and you won’t win at everything, but understand that you are the captain of your soul and it’s not always the destination, but the journey. Learn from every loss and regroup. I want him to know that you don’t have to be perfect, just try your best.
- Teach him the importance of abstinence. Abstinence may be a distant memory or myth in some circles and I know he may never listen to me, but I want him to know that his body is a temple and that if he waits on a wife, he will be giving her the best gift ever…the gift of him.
- Take him to Las Vegas to celebrate his 21st birthday. I want his last birthday party to be one that I throw for him and 21 of his friends in Las Vegas.