The first time it happened was a complete accident. My daughter had run off to play with her friends and I was left standing there with thoughts of my to-do list running through my head. In a moment of feeling overwhelmed I decided to tune out of my head and tune into the conversations around me.
I was listening to all of the parents dropping their kids off, and paying extra attention to the ones who were quietly whispering words into their kids ears before they headed off for the day. What I heard was shocking:
“Word hard today, honey”
“Take care of your brother on the playground”
“Have fun making new friends”
“Be a good friend”
“I’ll be here when you come out”
“I love you”
Maybe you’re as shocked as I was when I heard all of this. Sure, I expected to here, “I love you, have a good day” but I also expected to hear things like, “Auntie is picking you up today, listen to your teacher, don’t misbehave, next time we have to move faster in the morning!”
No, my fellow parents. When you choose your last words to send your kids off for the day, you’re much more thoughtful then that. Your words are your last chance to connect with your child and instill the values that are so important to your family. Work ethic, kindness, compassion, family, love. Those values far exceed the importance of other mundane messages, and it was truly overwhelming to hear what was being said over and over again to these children… every single child, every single interaction, every single time.
2016 is a world that I find so confusing. From wars on terrorism, to celebrity politics ruled by derogatory campaigns, I find myself regularly stressing out about the future for our children.
However, this week you gave me all peace. I see how fortunate our children are to be surrounded by so much love, and a community built on strong values. I see how you want your children to go forth in the world and know that collectively, with those values that you’ve imbedded in them, that they are going to be just fine. Maybe they will even overtake this chaos and make this world a better place.
So after hearing all of these conversations around me I was forced to evaluate my own “goodbye” routine. I’m going to try to slow down, not be late for school, and choose kindness and love as my everlasting message.
Thank you to my fellow parents… you’re truly amazing and inspiring.