It doesn’t have to be Snips and snails and puppy-dogs’ tails…
So I am a mother of 1. My boy and I are a team. His dad and I divorced when he was 4, and a year after we moved away to a different country. Its complicated, his dad has some mental health issues he needed (needs) to address before he can be an actual dad. So my son and I learnt to be a team of 2, we learnt to rely on each other.
I have been doing this motherhood thing 24/7, 365 days a year for the last 8 years… and I love it. My boy is a very compassionate 8 year old, who likes to play with Lego’s and eat homemade cookies. He has always been vegetarian by choice (prompting me to take the leap and become more of a plant eater) When he was 5 years old he told me he didn’t want to kill animals to eat them, he said “what if they have mom’s and dad’s? what would be very sad”. He loves and respect life no matter how small or big – a quality many lack nowadays.
I have taught my boy to love nature, to embrace nature and to be part of it and respect life. I shower him with love and affection and I treat him with respect, as equally as one can in a world made for grownups. I don’t believe in the premise that “kids must be seen ,not heard”, therefore I have taught him to be inquisitive, always wondering and discovering and never afraid to ask. Yes, he does has shores too but I don’t exploit it making him do things for something like $1 a day. We do reward charts instead. Good behavior and good grades are rewarded with video game time and Legos. (Did I mention he loves Legos?)
My boy is my superstar, my biggest achievement, my companion… he has my whole heart.
Some say my boy is too soft. Too soft because he isn’t a meat eater, too soft because he doesn’t like the sight of blood and guts. Too soft because he covers his eyes during “ugly parts” in the movies. Too soft because he still has 2 teddies he takes to bed every night. “isn’t he too old for that?” “he is the only 8 year old I’ve seen with teddies” – I’ve been told.
He is too soft because I let him wear “pink” shirts, too soft because I make him a cup of tea every morning and I let him sleep in my bed once a month when the thunderstorms scare him… too soft because I wake him up every morning with cuddles and kisses, and I bake him cookies once in a while.
So what if he is too soft? So what if he isn’t a boy obsessed with guns, blood and guts. So what if he doesn’t eat steak for dinner, and play with worms? why do boys have to be raised to be hard, strong and senseless? don’t we have too many macho men in this world already? couldn’t we do with a little more softness and compassion?
Life will try to destroy him. Society will try to re-shape him. Women will take advantage of him… maybe. But at least I know I have taught him to taste the sweet scent of life, to live to the fullest, to dance under the rain. I have taught him that its ok to be compassionate and to respect life. That is ok to open the door for other people, and to say thank you and please. That is ok to respect others even when they are being rude to us. That it is not ok to through rubbish or spit in the parking lot. That is not ok to solve problems with violence; that is not ok to alienate those we don’t understand.
I have done my part…
He will grow and do his part. He will grow and decide what to be. He will grow and decide who to be.
And if you think being compassionate in a world so tough is a sign of weakness, am afraid that’s YOUR lost.