1. Raising my boys and girls with equal opportunity.
I want my two sons and two daughters to be on the same playing field. They'll be taught the same skills and held to the same standards. It'll be important for them to know how to distinguish their individual preferences from social pressure about what those preferences should be.
2. Talking to them honestly about sex.
There's a time and place for everything and the sex talk is one of the things that should happen at home. One of the worst things you can do for your kids is to keep them blind to the realities of sex and adulthood even once they begin to mature. (And the thing about refraining to use scientific vocabulary like "penis" and "vagina" - what is that about?!) So many children are learning about sex from their peers, from porn, or from diluted school curricula, and they grow into adults who have trouble understanding healthy and safe relationships.
I'm not going to toss my sons a box of condoms at 16 while telling my daughters to stay virgins until marriage. My kids will all be taught about the delicacy of sex and the sentiments and complexities behind the act. They will learn how to understand consent, personal agency, sexual liberty, and relationship dynamics, and how not to associate their value as people with the happenings (or non) of their intimate lives. And of course we'll talk about how to use contraception and how to prevent STIs.
3. Teaching them thoroughly about religion.
My parents both practice different religions and that was hard to navigate for me when I was growing up. Now that I'm older, I've had the opportunity to study and compare religions and visit different parts of the world where spiritual philosophies are treated differently than they are in Western culture.
I want to teach my children about the faith, love, virtue, and righteousness that religions promote without forcing them to abide by any particular teaching. We may even explore things like meditation, yoga, and breathing techniques.
My hope is for my kids is that they learn about different schools of religious thought the same way they would any other subject, choosing based on a strong moral compass how to build their own relationships with the universe and its powers.
4. Nurturing creativity.
Creativity is an important life skill, but it surprises me how many adults say they don't have it. I never want my children to lose touch with childlike wonder and whimsy. I will encourage them all to nurture at least one creative interest. If they like art, I'd ask them to draw me a picture every day to show me how their day at school went. Maybe journal about it or write a song. Whatever their inclinations are, we'll find a way to integrate them into a healthy routine.
I'd also love to have an exciting space in my home where the kids can play, draw on the walls, and absolutely let loose. You'll definitely find me there, too!
5. Starting early with fitness.
Exercise is another part of a healthy routine, but most people don't start taking it seriously until they're far the past habit-forming stage of their development (which only makes it more difficult). We're gonna get sweaty as a family! We'll learn about how, when, and why to exercise and other ways to fortify the mind-body connection.
6. Letting them suffer their own consequences.
My children will be disciplined (how, I'm not yet sure). They will be raised with a healthy sense of self-control and respect for authority.
I'm not going to coddle them by being overly strict. I'll give them guidance, but my children will never grow if I stop them from learning certain things the hard way.
There's so many things I haven't touched on, like being willing to apologize to my children, listening to their feedback, or prioritizing their relationships with their cousins and grandparents. I do not subscribe to the idea that my children's upbringing should be exactly the same as mine. I want what's best for them, as most parents do, and that means doing what I can now to break generational curses and set them up for success.
What does that mean to you? How has your family motivated you or influenced your choices?