Today I am exactly 23 weeks pregnant. There's just 17 weeks to go until my due date (and of course I'm being naive and overly optimistic thinking Gizmo will arrive on my due date) and a lot to get done in that time. There's more baby orders to make, a nursery to decorate - oh and let's not forget several birthdays and Christmas before that, which will be as hectic as always.
My mind is on overtime; over the past 18 weeks since I found out I was growing a little human, my mind has been constantly going ten to the dozen thinking, planning, over-thinking and more planning. Lately, my mind has wondered to what kind of 'wisdom' and 'life experience' I want to impart on Gizmo; what do I want my baby, and future children, to learn from me?
001. Treat others how you wish to be treated.It sounds simple enough. It's something I often preach and try to live by, but something that over my 27 years I haven't always paid attention to. I'll hold my hands up and admit I haven't always treated people in the best way I could have, and in return I haven't always been treated the way I would have wanted.
That is exactly why I want Gizmo to understand from an early age that if you want people to treat you well, if you want to be treated with respect, then you have to behave the same way towards others. You cannot expect anyone to be positive towards you if you have a negative aura and treating others how you wish to be treated is one of the simplest ways to do yourself proud. I don't expect it to be an attitude they have daily, especially at a young age where they won't quite be able to understand the consequences their actions and words may have on others, but if I can teach them from an early age to be kind, considerate and compassionate to others, maybe they won't slip up as often as I have.
002. Don't be afraid.
When I was really, really young, I used to be so adventurous. I would do things I would never do now, like picking up random creatures and critters, climbing trees or going exploring in woods near our little Countryside village. The older I got the more I started getting this completely irrational fear, probably spurred on by my mum not wanting me to do a lot of things out of worry I would hurt myself or because I was a girl. The older I get the more this unnecessary fear stops me doing things. I'd love to jump out of a plane on a parachute jump or do a bungee jump, but my fear of what if? means I will never have the guts to do it. Little things, big things, if I let myself think about what might go wrong; whether a physical situation like an adrenaline inducing life experience or putting my heart on my sleeve, I stop myself doing it.
I don't want Gizmo to be afraid to experience things. Of course, within reason; I don't want them picking up anything dangerous thinking it's a toy and let's not forget a basic understanding of safety is always something you should teach your children, but I don't want to restrict them, to make them afraid to experience something. Everything in life is 50/50, you can't predict the future in even the most 'safe' of situations. Being too afraid to take a chance is something I know I will regret in many years to come, and I want my children to feel the opposite. I want them to grab onto every chance, opportunity and experience with both hands whilst screaming 'I CAN DO THIS!'.
003. Be a curious creature.
At heart I will always be a Country bumpkin and although I am a sucker for modern technology, there's a part of me that would jump at the chance to give it all up and live life more simply. Technology is, and will continue to be, a tremendously huge part of modern life and so much of what we have now simply wasn't around when I was growing up. I know Gizmo will have to use technology as standard, especially now that computers and tablets are introduced in schools now at a very young age, but I don't want them to rely on technology, to forget the world around them because they're too busy refreshing Twitter.
I want them to be curious. I want them to want to go out exploring the world around them, instead of having the latest gadget glued to their hand. I want them to see the beautiful world around them that we are so lucky to live in and not take it for granted like the rest of us do. I want them to look up and see the sky, to enjoy every colour, smell and sensation this world has to offer. I want to teach them that the world isn't as small as a phone or laptop screen, instead it's a huge place we could never dream of covering on foot, somewhere full to the brim with awe-inspiring places and incredible nature, a place full of experiences waiting to be taken. I want them to be curious about the world around them, for that curiosity to fill them with a thirst to learn.
004. You will always be good enough.
Media, social media, celebrity endorsements, even friends and loved ones will throw their opinions out there about what makes you good enough. Your body isn't the right shape or size, you're not pretty enough, you're not clever enough, you're not funny enough, you don't have enough friends, you're not rich enough, you're not white enough, you're just simply not good enough. That's what the media tells us, every single day. And we believe it. We let it knock our self-confidence, our self-worth, we let it affect how we feel about others, how we feel about the world and how we feel about ourselves.
I want them to know that so long as they try their hardest, it doesn't matter if they're the top of the class, whether they are the most popular or have the most friends. I want them to know that so long as they are safe, happy and healthy, it doesn't matter how big or small they are. I want to teach my children to learn the difference between shaming media stories and their true worth. I want them to understand that no matter who tells them they aren't good enough, that they really and truly are.
005. Everyone is worthy of love and happiness.
I strongly believe that everyone should be entitled to live their own lives, to make their own decisions about their lives, as they see fit. Unless your decisions and actions directly put someone else in danger, why should it matter to anyone else? Too many people concern themselves with other people's lives. Whether it's skin colour, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, what gender you identify with, where in the world you come from or something as trivial as who you associate with, everyone has an opinion, and sometimes those opinions can be extremely hurtful and nasty, even dangerous. I've grown up around people who have been prejudice towards others merely from looking at them, without even giving them a moment to get to know them.
I want to teach Gizmo that everyone deserves love and happiness, regardless of their skin colour/ethnicity/religion/sexuality/gender/the place they were born. That respect is not limited to the West, that love is not an entitlement, that the chance of happiness is not a privilege. I want to teach them that certain words and terms are never acceptable, regardless of how some people may be brought up or how popular culture may chose to use them. That sometimes, life isn't as clean cut as being born into the right body or loving someone of the opposite gender. I want them to appreciate and understand that no matter how unfairly the places we are born separate us, we are all human beings, we are all the same, and we are all worthy of love and happiness.
What 5 things do you hope to teach your children?
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