We have been on the fringes while friends and family have raised their children, and seen many things over the years. Just because we haven't actually produced or raised children doesn't mean that we know absolutely nothing about human behavior, or to take it further, child behavior. We have been fortunate that most of the people around us haven't shut us down or shut us out when their children are discussed. They realize that we have seen much in this life, and may be able to provide another view of their situation.
There are many things that we wish we could share, but haven't had the opportunity since we are childless. So I am going to write down some of the teaching and advice that has remained unspoken. It may take more than one blog post. But it also may be something that has meaning for you.
You are more than your body.
Your body is simply a vessel, a container for your personality and knowledge and self. It may be very different than other people's bodies. You may be strong or weak, slow or quick. You may not have the same limbs or abilities as the person next to you. One of you may be able to climb mountains, the other may spend their life getting around in a wheelchair. The body you have doesn't make you any greater or lesser than anyone else. Like a card game, it's sort of the luck of the draw. Your body doesn't determine who you are. I've known of wonderful people with both struggling bodies and strong ones, and the opposite is true, too. If you despair that your body isn't strong and able, think of Stephen Hawking. He is one of the most brilliant physicists in the world, is very witty, and has a great sense of humor. He has married more than once, and fathered children. He is also living his life in a wheelchair due to a disease (ALS) and has to use a computer to write or speak. He is so much more than his body. So are you.
You are more than your gender.
I am sad to say that there is still no such thing as gender equality in this world. But I will tell you that your gender doesn't determine who you are and what you can do, or what you might be good at doing. Whatever your gender, there will be people who may think that because of your gender, you should be a certain way, or be paid a certain way. Do what feels right to you when it comes to these issues, but don't let others determine who you should be, or what you should do with your life. Whether you are male or female, or your body fits outside of these descriptions, you can still be many things. Anyone of any gender can be a nurturer, a scientist, an author, a martial artist, an astronaut, a road repair worker, a farmer, a fashion designer. In short, you can do any number of things. A woman by the name of Marilyn vos Savant was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as having the world's highest IQ, over 200, and a man named Louis Réard created the first bikini. Their gender didn't define them. Neither should yours.
You are more than your job.
Whatever you end up doing in this life, if you do it well, and do it honorably, you will be a success. Whether you can realize it or not, all jobs are important. It takes some people an awfully long time to realize this. Yes, a doctor's work is important and life-saving. If you give it enough thought, you will realize that the same can be said for a sanitation engineer at a water treatment plant. The doctor treats with medicine and knowledge. The sanitation worker treats with prevention by keeping the water supply safe and healthy. See, both make a difference. Both save lives. My own doctor, Dr. Mike, was torn regarding his career choices when he was in college. He didn't know whether to become a doctor or play professional baseball. We know what he chose. But he works as joyfully as a doctor as he would have as a baseball player. Both jobs would have given him a chance to make himself and others happy. Whether you are a stay-at-home parent, a teacher, a surgeon, a sanitation worker, or a baseball player, what you do matters. Do it well, and do it with pride. You make a difference.
I think this is enough for now, but I will be back at a later date for part two of "What I Want To Tell You." I hope you'll be back for the next installment!