I’ve been thinking about parenting lately. Actually I’ve been thinking about the meaning of life as well, but specifically in regards to parenting, and one of the questions I have asked myself is, ‘what is the goal? What am I trying to achieve?’
Now ask most parents what they want for their kids and the easy answer is for them to be happy and healthy, which, let’s face it, is fair enough. A great goal even. Who doesn’t want an enjoyable life and perfect health? Who doesn’t want that for their kids?
It got me thinking that, furthermore, as parents, there isn’t anything we wouldn’t do for our little ones. We continually make sacrifices of our own time and energy and dreams and desires, day after day after day for their benefit. We would give them the world, and anything in it if we could. That’s just the nature of mothering (or fathering.)
I’m like any other mum in that respect. I wish I could give my kids every single thing they asked for. When we go to the shops and Ava is convinced that the new doll will complete her life, I want to buy it for her. Or when BJ is certain that there would be nothing better than sucking down a slushie, I can totally emphasise and resist the urge to dig deep into my purse for spare change. I want to buy them gifts and spoil them. I want to see them happy, and healthy and with all the things that their little hearts desire.
When I really think about it, my goal in life is not to raise happy, healthy children. I hope they will be happy, and definitely healthy, but that’s not the goal. The goal is to raise moral children; kids who are kind and considerate and put the needs of others before themselves. Children who will grow into merciful, compassionate adults who look with grace upon the less fortunate and fight for justice when injustice rules the day.
People who believe that mercy triumphs over judgement, love covers a multitude of sins, and that true joy is found in loving other’s more than yourself.
That is my goal.
In order to reach my goal, I cannot give my children every thing they want. I cannot give them the world.
And with that in mind, I actually don’t want to.
If going without means they grow up with compassion for those that never receive anything, then I would rather them go without. Simple as that.
When I look around my house now, I see so much privilege, and this is in exact opposition to the way most children in out world live. Their reality is so far removed from my own, I can have no concept of even beginning to comprehend it. But I can start with cutting back on the extravagance with which I live my life. Examining the objects I fill my house with for comfort’s sake, and refusing to buy into the commercial myth that I actually need them. I am attempting to train myself to realise that most of the items that fill my home, are unnecessary and the money wasted in buying them, could instead be spent on enriching the lives of so many others.
You see, whilst I don’t just want my kids to grow up to be kind and wonderful people, I also want that for myself. I want to be the kind of woman who seeks justice for the oppressed, and offers mercy to the broken, and compassion to the downtrodden. I want to live a life that is characterised by sacrifice and generosity. I do not want to be known as a person who has a beautiful home, when there are lives at stake; when there is freedom being withheld.
I want to be the kind of person I want my children to be.
I need to the be kind of person I want my children to be.
And so no, I do not want the world. I do not need the world, and I will not give my children the world.
I just want to save the world.
And take my babies along with me.