Today I came across a wonderful blog article that made me tear up a little at the innocence of youth and thinking of any and everything I can do to try to make Liam's the best that it can possibly be for him. I do what I can, and am not too far off on what this had to say, which is amazing that I can compliment myself on that. We are so hard on ourselves as parents, and I love reminders that our cooking and reading, and play doh and mud everywhere is important when I start to worry about whether or not Liam is where he should be in life. I always remember with speech and how boys talk slower what a friend on mine once said to me. As long as they can talk by the time kindergarten starts, they will be just fine haha. I know I sometimes measure Liam up to others and hear the eloquent speech of some girls in his class and wonder if he is behind. I have to step back and remember that Liam can convey whatever he wants in his shorter sentences and don't need to throw in extra words, and that I almost always know what it is that he wants or needs or wants to say and that is all that really matters, because he can create some amazing things and his intelligence DOES shine through already!
This article was geared at 4 year olds and my son is only 3 but the sentiment is the same for any age child, especially this delicate toddler and approaching early primary school age years. The premise of the piece is that parents are always trying to measure and size their parents up to other kids of the same age, younger and older to see if they own children are on track and where they need to be as far as intellectual and physical developmental level. I know that I have found myself doing it with Liam as well. And I have had had other parents grill me about Liam's ability to see where to place their children in regards to my child. Now I am not saying that having pride in your child is a bad thing. This is a wonderful thing. You SHOULD be proud of your child no matter where they fall within this spectrum. I know that there are certain things that the pediatrician will want to know about where your child is so that they can determine if they need to look into any learning, mental, speech disabilities, but otherwise your child could be on any level. Traditionally, girls learn to do a lot of things much faster than boys. I have to constantly remind myself of this when I find myself measuring Liam up to girls in his class that are almost a full year older than him. As a toddler a year is a HUGE difference, and the majority of girls become much better speakers so much faster than boys.
What was the meat of the message and the most important thing that we ALL need to remember as parents is that the most important things that we will teach our children are things like love. Ways to adapt to life in the world, how to stand up for themselves, how to find compassion and appreciation for life. How to be gentle and kind to creatures and people who may not be as strong or as able as them. They should know how to give and receive love. They should know that they are safe when they are with you and that you love them whether they are right or wrong. They should know independence and curiosity in the world around them. They should know balance and limits and how to push past limits in a positive way. They should know that there are both good and bad consequences to anything that they do. They should know how to handle themselves in an emergency situation, how to contact help or go to someone safe for help. They should know how to trust their own intuition and how to listen to and trust their judgement. They should know when to walk away from a situation that does not feel safe. They should know what would not be acceptable, how to say no when something is not right. They should know how to experiment and enjoy the world around them. They should know the grandeur of storytelling and learning the beauty that is a storybook. They should learn how valuable books really are. They should know how to create and destroy and recreate something.
I could really go on forever, but I think you get the point. The most important thing we need to teach our children is how to be who they are in the most extravagant, beautiful and magical way no matter what that means. They should know that they are loved and supported and safe. The speech will come when the time is right, just like the math and the reading on one's own and writing. EVERY child is a beautiful and unique snowflake. They will ALL learn differently from one another and they are each their own individual. We should embrace that in them and help them blossom into the most beautiful flowers that the world has ever seen. This is really the best way to make a difference in the world... By being the best parents we can be, by not sweating the small stuff, leading by example and most importantly by teaching them that only in love will there be peace.
If you would like to find the original article it can be found at: What should a 4 year old know?