Some of the advantages I hope to give our child are the obvious ones: a healthy, loving environment, food on their plate, clothes on their back, ride a bike, etc. etc. The things that all parents are "expected" to be able to provide for their son or daughter.
There are other things on my list though, things that I feel helped mold me. I'm sure we all have our list of influencers that made us who we are. Some items should be passed down, and some items don't exist any more. I'm certainly not suggesting you force your kids to play your old antique Atari. But here's my ever evolving and expanding list:
1 - Legos: The "building blocks of life"???? Maybe, maybe not. But, every kid should have plenty of Lego's for them to use as a creative outlet - and for their parents to step on. It's life, and it's natural.
2 - Plenty of Coloring Books and Crayons: In my head our child is going to be a combination of Picasso, Mickey Mantle, Michael Jordan, Sinatra, Walt Disney, Princess Diana, and Albert Einstein.....now my list is pro-son driven with a dash of Di - and I'm sure my girlfriends list would be pro-daughter, with a dash of Gosling. Crayons and coloring, inside the lines or out, are essential for creativity and imagination.
3 - A dog: Is anything cuter than a cute baby and a cute dog doing cute stuff?? I think not. It also teaches companionship and a love for animals. Show me someone who doesn't love animals and I'll show you someone who probably doesn't love people much either. They can't be trusted.
4 - Love for their mother: Shocking news - The divorce rate is high. I look forward to the day when people stop announcing that, and start focusing on a solution. One of the best quotes I've read so far is, "The best thing you can do for your child is to love their mother." I want my son or daughter to know love, see love, and feel love. That must come from both parents, and, ideally, directed towards each other.
5 - Charity: Our child is going to be coming into a very financially secure environment, and will live a life free from lacking the necessities. We're extremely blessed when it comes to our careers, but we don't want our son/daughter to not understand or empathize with what it's like to be on the "other side". Charity is the best way to convey that message, while helping those less fortunate.
6 - Bank Account: Even at a young age my girlfriends parents opened her a bank account. What an awesome way to teach responsibility, independence and financial maturity to a child. Debt is more rampant than divorce, and a lesson that needs to be heeded early on.
7 - TOO Tech or not TOO Tech: I wrestle with this idea of giving or child too much technology too soon. I'm 100% AGAINST kids living through video games. It makes me surprisingly angry when I see a kid listening to their iPod at a restaurant, or playing a video game while sitting in a shopping cart. I don't want them in the stone age, but I don't want them to lose touch with the real world.
8 - Books: Actual books. Not books on cell phone. Or books that a robot reads to you. For God's sake people, read to your kids. Read as many Dr. Seuss books as you can possibly stomach, and then keep reading. It was one of the most important things my parents did for me. One that too many kids are missing out on today.
9 - Learning multiple languages: We live in the greatest country in the world, yet nearly every other country raises children to know and actually speak more than one language. Could you imagine where the US would be if we adopted that same philosophy? And closer to home, how your 5 year old would feel knowing that he/she can communicate in ways other kids can't??
10 - Music: All types of music. To play, and to enjoy. Maybe this is just an desire to instill independence in our little one, but I grew up with noise. A lot of noise. Music late into the night, and plenty of partying. It drove me crazy sometimes as a kid, but later in life I learned to appreciate it. I know music that most people my age don't know, and learned it's possible to live an exciting life full of action and excitement, even with kids. I'm not talking about neglecting them, I'm talking about including them. Music will get kids of all ages through lifes ups and downs.
11 - Travel: Life is short, and you'll never have time to see it all. But that's no reason not to try! I know my parents wish they would have seen more, and shown us more. But, like many people in that generation, all they knew was work. They worked, and provided for the family. And then worked some more. We're blessed to have a strong desire to travel, and a means in which to do it. To be able to show your children the world is something more valuable then what I can put into words.
No kid is perfect, and no parent has it all figured out. Sometimes your plans go out the window, but it's sure as hell better than not having a plan at all! If we've learned life lessons, we owe it to our children to teach them the same lessons early on. Over the next 80-100 years the kids that learn the most, change the fastest, adjust on the fly, have fun and stay positive, will be the ones that rule the world. Why not have it be yours??
What would be on YOUR list???
Would love the comments!!!