We enjoyed a visit from an out of town friend this weekend and as we always do, we gossiped, swapped life stories, and energetically conversed about several topics. One of those conversations has stayed with me because my perception of it was so different than what he shared others had said about the subject.
He asked me the following question (basically this question, I am paraphrasing because I never remember anything exactly anymore): Now that I have kids, do I find that I reflect less (or think less) about who I am and what things mean in relation to myself.
When I asked what he meant, he clarified by giving me an example in the form of what his friends had replied, which was that now that they have children, they’re the most important thing and the other stuff doesn’t matter.
I was still confused as I sat there with an expression that could easily have been that of a cartoon mom’s with an empty speech bubble hovering over my head, only now I was no longer confused about the question, but rather by his friends answer.
As I understand it, and feel free to comment if you understand the friend’s answer differently, his friend believes that because he has done “the most important thing” (having children), he’s beyond being reflective and feels no need to be so.
Okay, so now here’s me: The one thing that I have actually made it a point to think about more since having the girls is precisely that. Who am I in relation to them, and in relation to the world that they will be growing up in? What do they see when they look at their mother? What impressions will be stamped in their brains about what it means to be a mother, a wife, a woman, a friend, a member of society? And if I am not actively cultivating the very best version of these that I can, who will?
I’m not talking about perfection – I’ m talking about humanity, humility, humour, empathy, the pursuit of passions and interests. I am taking about social responsibility, personal accountability and the joy of being a curious-minded individual.
It is up to me to show my daugthers that you can dislike something that someone does and still love them.
It is up to me to show my daughters that it is fine to get angry and frustrated, but not okay to act with disregard for another person’s feelings or to throw thing wildly about.
It is up to me to show my daughters that she has a duty to this planet simply because she is an inhabitant of it.
It is up to me to inspire a curiosity about books, culture, language, science, history, philosophy, mathematics, arhictecure, EVERYTHING and anything that touches her life.
And it is most certainly up to me to show my dauthers that they OUGHT to reflect about themselves and who they are being.
That, in my opinion, is what personal integrity is all about. So, yes, I reflect and more than that I follow it up with conscientious choices.