As I put my daughter to bed last night, I was thinking I’d like to share our little routine with you. I’m not sure if you have ever read or watched The Help by Kathryn Stockett, but I read it over a year ago for book club and was inspired by one particular conversation. There’s a part where one of the maids, Aibileen, tells the little girl that she is kind, she is smart, she is important every day that they are together. She does this in hopes that she doesn’t turn out like her mama. Aibileen wants the little girl to grow up not seeing color but seeing a person. So that got me to thinking…why don’t I tell Emma those things?
Thus began our little nighttime ritual. Most nights we take a bath, read a few books, say our prayers out loud, then as I rock her I tell her things. Before I divulge what I say, and I don’t mind doing so, let me tell you about a man I worked who I like call a ‘seer.’ I would talk with him on many occasions and usually about God because this co-worker was pretty much a messenger for the man upstairs and had a direct connection. One day we were talking and I told him about how I read that part in this book and I liked the idea of telling my baby girl those things. He agreed but said, ‘Why not tell her what you want her to be?’ Ding! That made total sense…just because they don’t always respond to us, I GUARANTEE they hear us.
I started this when she was just a few months old and over the year my list has grown of what I want her to be and how I want her to act. I usually start off by saying ‘You’re smart, You’re beautiful, You’re funny, You’re outgoing, etc.’ But then I took it to another level. I know growing up I wasn’t too keen on math and my hubby, being an engineer, would get giddy over doing differential equations-bleh. I vividly remember these words coming out of my mouth, even in college, as well as many others: I HATE MATH. So that made me want to incorporate all kinds of other avenues in our nightly goals and ambitions. I tell her she’s great at math, an avid reader, hardworking, artistic (since I’m the theater major in the family), kooky, spontaneous, etc. You get the point. It’s almost endless the things you can tell your kids what and how you want them to be. So try it sometime. Don’t feel silly talking to yourself because trust me they are listening. Even now when my hubby and I ask her if she’s pretty and smart she says ‘yes.’ However, this is the girl who says yes if I ask if she wants a knuckle sandwich!
I can tell the older I get as a mama new things come to light while raising a little girl. I am realizing even more that a lot comes with growing up these days, especially in today’s world, so I started telling her she respects her body, her parents, and that she will marry a wonderful man who loves her deeply. I figure why not throw it all in there and see how it turns out…can’t hurt right!?
Ok, so whatcha think? Am I crazy? Does anyone else tell their children these things?