How could this kid be mine?
Do you ever look at your kids and think, “There is no way this kid could be mine!” I’m not talking about the times when they’ve done something stupid and you momentarily disown them. I’m talking about less dramatic times. We can all find things in our children that remind us of ourselves. But what about those characteristics or personality traits we see in our children that are nothing like us?
For example, just today at lunch my kids and I were playing the game, “Who would you rather be?” We go around the table, and I ask them questions like, “Who would you rather be, Tinkerbell or Cinderella?” or “Who would you rather be, Spiderman or Optimus Prime?” You get the idea. So I asked one of my daughters, “Who would you rather be, Tigger or Piglet?” To which she replied, “I don’t like Winnie the Pooh.” Now, for those of you who have never met me, this may not sound that awful. Sure, there are some kids out there who may not like Winnie the Pooh. But, you see, I LOVE Winnie the Pooh. My very first car, a little gray Ford Escort, was named Eeyore. I could decorate an entire house with Winnie the Pooh themed paraphernalia and still have enough left over to decorate your house too! And so, when my 3 year old daughter says, “I don’t like Winnie the Pooh,” my very first thought is, There is no way this kid could be mine.
Here’s another example..this very same kid who apparently dislikes Winnie the Pooh, also dislikes chocolate. Dislikes Chocolate! I’ve always been baffled by people who could say no to chocolate, but my very own daughter?! How did that happen? I first noticed something was up when she turned down a brownie. But then she was turning down chocolate chip cookies! When I asked her why, she told me there was chocolate in them. I was baffled. But then it spread to chocolate ice cream and I knew this wasn’t just a fluke. My daughter doesn’t like chocolate. There’s no way this kid could be mine!
This same phenomenon happens with our other kids too. I have played the piano and organ for most of my life, even studied music in college. My son, however, refuses to play a musical instrument of any kind. He shows absolutely no interest in music at all. I love being around people. I subscribe to the theory of ‘the more the merrier.’ My other daughter is overwhelmed by crowds of people. She’s even been known to hide under tables or lay down on the floor in the corner when forced to attend a party, even her own birthday party!
But then I’m reminded of this fundamental truth, my kids are not me. Seems obvious, I know. But as parents, it’s easy for us to look to our kids to affirm that we’re okay. Not just okay, but that we’re right. That the choices we’ve made, the interests we have, the things we enjoy doing….all of these things are the right things. When our children are different from us, we are forced to acknowledge that there is more than one way of being. But our children being different from us may also be the best way for each of us to accept and appreciate diversity. Things that we have a hard time understanding somehow become clearer when our kids are the ones involved. As simplistic as this sounds, I now find myself looking for non-chocolate treats for our home. In the past, my love of chocolate heavily influenced my grocery shopping. But knowing that my daughter doesn’t like chocolate has led me to realize that, amazingly enough, sugar cookies are really good too! Our children are all still pretty young right now, but I can easily imagine a future where each one of our children makes important decisions that are vastly different from the ones we made. And when that happens, my first thought might very well be, How could this kid be mine? But I hope that my very next thought will be, How could this kid NOT be mine.