Things we should say to our children

di Penny*

There are things we should say to our children. For example, that failure is very likely to happen. However, one falls and gets up again. It’s from this that one learns, from nothing else.

We should say to our sons that crying is not a girly attitude, and to our daughters that they can wrestle or pull faces without being tomboys.

We should say to them that boredom is time for themselves, that they can have frightening thoughts, but they do not have to worry.

We should say to them that death can happen, but magic exists.

We should say to our children that their wedding day is not the most beautiful day of their life. There are some good days and some bad days. Yet, they all count the same.

And that they need to learn to stay, because the pain can be dealt with.

We should say to our sons that they are not Prince Charming and they don’t have to save anyone. To our daughters that nobody will save them, if not themselves.

Otherwise women will continue to die and men to kill.

To our children we should say that there is time until it runs out, and we always realize that too late.

We should say to them that there are neither losers nor defeated people and life is not a fight.

We should say to them that malice exists and is within each one of us. We have to know it to control it.

We should say to our children that not always a father and a mother are a safe harbour. Some lighthouses do not provide clear light.

And that we are nothing without other people. Absolutely nothing.

And that they can suffer. But suffering keeps us going and sooner or later it goes away.

We should say to our children that they might not succeed and yet live a happy life. Perhaps, they might be even happier.

We should say to them that it doesn’t matter if wishes do not come true, but the important thing is to wish. Till the end.

We need to say to them that if they will not get married or have children, they can still be happy.

That the world needs their commitment to become a beautiful place where one can take a break.

That poverty exists and we have to make it our burden.

That they can be whoever they want, but not at all costs.

That forgiveness exists. And sometimes one can surrender and move on together.

To our children we should say that they can go far away. Even further, where we can no longer see them.

And that we will be here. When they want to come back.


* I’m 45 years old. I’m a teacher. I have two teenage girls and a painful divorce behind me. I have a blended family, or whatever they call it now. I write because I need to. My 15 year-old daughter creates the illustrations for the blog; she says they’re ugly and is embarrassed about them. I’m happy we can do this together, even though she blackmails me when her allowance is running low.  My youngest is jealous, of course. All this makes me want to bolt sometimes and run. But I come back. Usually right away. Like a salmon, I make my way upstream, often struggling and out of breath. I surf through life as I can and as I know how. But, all things considered, I’d say the three of us are getting by just fine.


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