There are small flames inside my children -- the flames of childhood -- with sparks of innocence, creativity and wonder. I marvel at these qualities in my kids -- when they play princesses and knights, when they ooh and ahh at the night sky, and when they giggle with Daddy like there couldn't possibly be anything better. These marks of childhood are so precious and so remarkable. Children truly light up the world.
I may sound like a staunch, overprotective, worrywart Mama Bear, but this is something I think about constantly. I do not want my children to lose their innocence. My children are so special. They are caring, kind, curious, playful and loving. And it truly feels like every time we go out, they're faced with some kind of situation that attempts to extinguish those flames.
We enter the Chick-Fil-A play area, and my kids' eyes light up because there are NEW FRIENDS here! They immediately start asking, "What's your name? What's your name? Do you want to play with me?" And each time their excitement is met with a silent shrug and a kid who turns away, my heart sinks. These experiences tell them that kindness doesn't matter and that there's no reason to get excited about something small like new friends.
Water on the flames.
When my four-year-old excitedly suggests to her friend that they pretend they're giants and he says "That's a stupid idea," her countenance falls, and she begins to question her own imagination. She's also learned a new insult, likely to be used later.
Water on the flames.
When my girls hear older kids being disrespectful to adults, and when they turn on the TV and see a boy and girl (who just met) kissing, and when they see toddlers in string bikinis and decide that theirs have too much material...
Water is being thrown on the flames.
I know some of you may be thinking, "WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO? KEEP THEM LOCKED UP INSIDE YOUR HOUSE EVERY DAY?" And honestly, sometimes the answer is yes! Their childhood innocence is a precious thing, and I want to shelter them from everything and everyone that tries to hose it out of them.
I know the day is coming when they will start school, and when they'll start high school, and it's only natural to grow up... but that day isn't now. And there's no reason to rush things.
No, I don't really intend to lock them up. But I am and will always be very selective about the people they spend time with and about how much time they spend away from home. Their character, attitudes and values are mine to sculpt. And right now I want them blazing with innocence, like every child's should.
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