Is giving our children the “best of everything” really the best way to prepare them for the rapidly changing, interconnected world? The changing world demands a fundamental change in attitude. And that is something we can give our children on any budget.
We love our little ones with a passion that is unparalleled. There are few pleasures as satisfying as caressing those chubby, miniature hands, kissing their fluffy, rosy cheeks while they blissfully snore away, and gently running our fingers through that soft, angelic baby hair. We cherish every little Kodak moment, like the time they get their grubby little hands on a piece of cake at their first birthday and joyfully smear it all over their entire face, their first clumsy encounter with Sam, their grandma’s dog, and of course, that first, heroic, wobbly step.
We love them so much, we want them to have the very best of everything, and we would go to any length to get it for them. We want them to have the softest, coziest socks, the healthiest, most delicious food, and the best toys that will give them endless joy and develop them into little geniuses. We would give away everything we have a million times over just to be sure that they will be safe, happy, and well cared-for.
Preparing Our Children for the Future
But beyond the basic physical needs, do we know what these innocent creatures really need to be happy and to succeed in this complicated world of today? Do we know what to give them beyond good clothes, food, games, and entertainment? The world today is clearly not what it used to be, and the conditions for being safe, happy, and successful have changed considerably from the time we were kids. Opening the front page of any newspaper, it is easy to see that we, the adults, are not managing our world very well. We have let things develop to a point where we cannot control the consequences of our actions, and worse yet, we have created a haven for people’s worst egoistic tendencies to roam freely and take advantage of everything and everyone around.
Yet while we ourselves are caught in the midst of this unstable situation, we are still able to create a warm, safe, and loving environment for the little darlings dearest to us—until it is time for them to come out of the nest, that is. But after that, is our only available option to “let be what will be,” as we’ve done with our own lives? Or is there something we can give our kids, some kind of knowledge, attitude, or awareness that will enable them to shape a world that will have very different headlines gracing the newspaper?
Because our love and passion for them is so absolute, there is only one answer: There has to be something we can give them for a better life, and we have to find what it is and deliver it to them. So let’s be the adults that we are for a moment, and think soberly: It is definitely no longer an option to “solve” things by isolating them from the whole world, such as by keeping them at home for as long as we can and barring them from the outside world. It is also not an option to let them grow up “like grass” without rules or limits, or to let them think that everything they see in the movies, advertisements, and the internet is the truth and the standard to emulate. True, we cannot control the gigantic, out-of-control advertising industry or mass media, but we can instill in our kids the subconscious understanding of the fact that the selfish, egoistic goals and values so often promoted there are destructive and undesirable.
A Paradigm for their New World
In our unprecedented, radically new, global world, where all people are starting to find themselves as members of a tightly-knit, interconnected family spanning to every corner of the world, it is no longer, “He who has the most toys wins,” but, “He who is able to share his toys and enjoy watching others playing with them, wins.”
This is the vitally needed new attitude, knowledge, and awareness that we, as parents, can give to our kids. This will be a present infinitely more valuable than any designer pair of boots, the healthiest baby formula, or the most expensive, battery-operated truck. And this invaluable education can begin at any age, even at birth, because as any mother knows, our kids absorb everything from us starting the moment they’re born. They soak in all the energies, thoughts, and attitudes around them from the very first moment because the soul has no age.
So let us transmit the values of giving and sharing to our children from their very first moments in this world, and let our infinite love for them be a constant reminder never to stop. If we only persevere in this one, all-important task as parents, we will very soon see our beloved darlings living in a truly safe and happy world.