As parents, our job is to teach our children the ways of the world. From manners to math to how to tie your shoes, we spend a great deal of time and energy teaching the next generation. However, in this journey I call motherhood, I have learned many things from my son. Here are the top 10 things my son has taught me:
1) I now enjoy baseball. I used to absolutely hate baseball. Now I am a big fan who rarely misses a game. Part of this lesson was self-preservation (I was there, I might as well enjoy myself) and part of it was because I was the designated parent who sat and watched the games on tv with him. Nowadays, I am probably a bigger fan than he is and I will be very sad when he stops playing.
2) Today's teenagers are much more tolerant than we were at the same age. From boys wearing skinny jeans to kids in special ed to a student planning a sex change operation, the teens in my son's school are much more open and accepting than the students were back when I graduated.
3) Our family has made a pledge in 2009 to be more green and this is due to my son's encouragement and concern for the environment. We probably would have gotten to this point but he made it happen much faster.
4) The importance of music in our schools and in our lives. I cannot carry a tune in a bucket and am much more likely to be listening to a book on my MP3 player than music but I have realized how important music is. My son has always been an advanced student in math but I saw his creativity soar when he started playing an instrument in 5th grade. Did you know that schools with strong music programs have higher graduation rates and fewer behavioral issues? There is a strong correlation between music and math performance. Music is truly a core subject and should not be the first item on the chopping block when they have budget cuts.
5) Children have an unlimited capacity to learn and that most children want to learn. I have great memories of playing math games and word games in the car when we would drive places. He was having so much fun that he didn't realize that he was learning and when it wasn't fun, we would stop until another day. In Cub Scouts, I taught my 2nd grade den to play chess. Everyone told me the boys were too young. They weren't. They completed the chess belt loop and had fun at the same time. The highlight was seeing one of the cub scouts call checkmate when playing against a Harvard-educated father!
6) There are some really amazing kids out there and we have a great future ahead of us. Today's young adults are so much further ahead academically than we were. Many of them are active volunteers who are already contributing to the community. I can't wait to see where they take us!
7) My mother was much smarter than I ever gave her credit for. All those things that I never thought I would say? Yup, those words are coming out of my mouth nowadays.
8) Boys and girls are born with certain inherent traits. As a child of the 60s and 70s, I read all the nature vs nurture arguments on gender. Are boys and girls really that different or is it because of the way we were raised was the question of the decade. Within a few years of having a son, I knew the answer is that there are certain traits that are simply "all boy". They didn't make sense to me and they made perfect sense to his father.
9) I learned a desire to become more organized. In some ways I am better than I was but mostly I am a work in progress in that avenue. How did I learn this from my son? His unorganized ways drive me insane and I am determined to find a way for both of us to be more organized!
10) I also have realized that the best, most important job in the world is being a parent.
What have you learned from your children?
Here's to the kiddos!