In a world where everyone’s asking you what you’ve achieved, what you’ve done with your life, it feels so easy to lose track of what’s important. When everything around you costs money. When you wake up one day and realize your bills are sky high and your bank account’s buried under the ground, it’s normal to feel the need to lock yourself up at work. When your partner’s fighting with you, when that silly little thing they do becomes the last thing you need that day and you end up screaming your head off and storming out, it’s almost impossible to want to go back home.
But I want you to. I want you to walk around the streets, take as many deep breaths as you need and go back inside that home. Because you know what your struggles are. You know why you’re angry, why you’re upset. But there’s a pair of little eyes watching from a half closed door that doesn’t. And it’s your duty to ensure they never do.
My mother often says, “A child should know the suffering of a parent or they’ll never understand how much we go through just to keep a roof over their head and food on their plate, day after day.”
I know so many people that agree with her, but I don’t.
My theory is as simple as this – If you, as an adult, cannot fix this, there is no way that your child can. And if you, as an adult, cannot handle the emotional turmoil that comes with this problem, what makes you think your child can?
“But they have to understand that we cannot afford everything they want.”
And here’s the thing. Have you seen a shopaholic? The girl in the big city with a flashy card that buys everything she will ever want? She always looks like she has the perfect life. Shopping all the time. Must feel fantastic to be able to afford all that. Here’s the perspective you don’t see. When we have an entire week off, besides resting, we try to spend some time with our family and friends. The people we love. If we had all the money in the world, we’d be taking them on a vacation.
When your child is looking for anything and everything money can buy, I want you to stop and look at something bigger than that tantrum. That shopaholic may be filling an emotional void with materialistic things and your child is no different. The kid in the park playing with his parents isn’t giggling because they bought him a park. He doesn’t understand real-estate value. He understands the hand holding and the push on a swing.
Sometimes, the best birthday present you can ever give to your child is, “I’m going to spend the entire day with you. What do you say we go on a hike and grab some ice cream on the way home?” It’s an inexpensive plan. But it’s the most precious thing in the world because you’re giving them something money will never buy – your time.
You have a million things to deal with in your life. And though we all wish it to be different, there is a very high possibility that when the time comes your child will go through them as well. So don’t rush them into it. If they can’t fix it, they don’t have to know.
Because your child loves you. They were born loving you. When you tell them your problem, they want to fix it for you. When they know they can’t, it turns them into a mess. Always remember, your child is a mirror. They reflect what they see in you. Don’t you want to raise a happy and loving child?
I’m 22 now. I went to university, I have friends, I have a life of my own. There is nothing I wouldn’t give to spend a day watching TV with my mom, laughing and gossiping about nothing. Or go sit at the beach with my dad and talk about old stories and philosophical nothings. We may grow up and take on the world. We may live this whole, busy life that consumes us every minute of the day. But the moment we look at you, we go back to being that same little kid, with our nose stuck to the window, waiting for you to come home.
You may fight with them. Life may come between you more times than one. But those little eyes watching through a half closed door, all they ever want is for you to turn and say “I love you.”
So go pick up that phone and say it.