What have we done? Better still, what have I done to epitomise the child I am a raising? This came to mind as I was driving in the car and looked back to see her sleeping at the back seat. On the one hand, she looked so much like me and even had traces of her grandparents. I could not help, but see myself in her. Yet inasmuch as she resembled me, she was not me, but a new being filled with potential. My mind mulled over her mannerisms and other characteristics that she has picked up from me. I could only acknowledge that children have a way of mirroring their caregivers, whether good or bad.
As I pen this, I want you to gather your thoughts and be honest with yourself. How are you raising the precious little one(s) entrusted to you? Are you the screaming parent? Is your timidity and low self-esteem doubling up in your child or are you raising brave warriors ready to take up arms and change their world for the better? As parents, our role is pivotal. We are not just biological contributors, but we are there to fend, nurture and strengthen our children’s physical, mental, social and spiritual wellbeing. When we are no more, what are the key traits we want our children to remember of us? I am not talking about the watered-down praises that characterise most obituaries, but the essence of who we really were.
Going back to the moment in the vehicle when I saw my daughter’s sleepy face and arms embracing her favourite soft toy, I imagined what legacy I wanted to leave behind for her as evidence that I existed, lived and loved. Parents want to leave a legacy for their children. True, we should leave some form of inheritance for our offspring, but even more than that, we long to leave a legacy of love that will sustain them and the yet unborn generations. When our names are remembered no more as it is now known, we want to look down from eternity and see the banner of love that we fortified in their hearts live on from one generation to the next.
What are you earmarking for your children? When they engage in sports, do we drill into them that winning is the only possible outcome, or do we use even those subtle moments to teach them about being team players, giving your best and trying again even after they have lost or been cast aside? Are we teaching them that winning at the expense of losing your soul and trading your values is actually the very worst form of loss?
One day, when she is the looking at her baby from the driver’s seat of her vehicle, I hope she will be overflowing with confidence, ready to pour out grace and unconditional love to my lineage. Before the teen years approach, while she chases after my lap and our intimate mother-daughter moments, let us reinforce our efforts to love our own even more than ourselves.
I called her name and she opened up her eyes and saw me looking at her. She smiled and my spirit awoke and vowed to love her anew.
Love and protect the little soul next to you.