I'm the father of a precocious, whip-smart four year old girl with a heart the size of Texas and a sense of humor to match it.
As a parent, I think the best thing that I can offer as I guide her through childhood is a toolkit. I can offer her the tools to write her own story. This will allow her to live the life she chooses. I want to give her the gift of information without judgement and the ability to process it compassionately. I want to instill discipline to do the right thing in life, but without judgement of others.
An example of giving my child the toolkit to write her story would be a recent moment that my daughter and I shared at the dinner table. I'm a big fan of Big Freedia, the New Orleans-based bounce rapper. Big Freedia presents feminine in style, hair and title (calling himself "the queen diva") but is a man. I got a keychain that says different Big Freedia catch phrases and my daughter discovered it. She found expressions like "Big Freedia, Queen Diva, You Besta Believea" and "Excuse I Don't Mean To Be Rude" to be just hilarious. Eventually she saw a picture of Freedia and asked me if that person was a man or a woman. I explained that he's a man. She said "but he calls himself a queen." I said "yes he does" to which she looked at me for a moment, processing. Her response was "boys can be queens too." It was a small moment, but her understanding of people that are different from her nuclear family was expanded in that interaction. Had I responded in any way negative, she may have written into her story that people who are different in some way are less than.
These are the moments when we really give our children the tools to write their own stories, by not shackling them with judgments of others or our preconceived notions.
I'd love to hear about a time that you gave your child the tools to write their own story. Leave a comment and share your story!