I think like everyone growing up there are things I wish my parents had done differently, taken more notice of and pushed me to do more. I am sure that if they had there would be other things that I resented, because let’s face it we are never going to be completely content with our upbringing. But here I am going to make a list of promises to my future children. That way if they find it when they are older they will know that it was never my intention to ruin their lives, or make their childhood a misery. From the age of 17 I have looked upon parenthood with the intention of success.
1) I promise to document everything
As much as I am camera shy, it always saddens me that my family has never been one for photo albums and home movies. It’s not a huge thing, but I hate that I can’t just sit down with some nostalgic music like they do in the movies and reflect on the past in a really sappy and cliché way. So to my kids I swear I will take a photo of everything. Nothing will be missed, no certificate misplaced or Home movie recorded over.
2) I will make your house a home
Excuse me for sounding like a furniture advertisement. But, I want the place my children grow up in to be somewhere they can relax and feel comfortable. A safe place at the end of a long day. My house is very plain. The walls are white, the mantel place decorated with tasteful tea lights. There are no photos, or clues that this is more than just a show house. It is tastefully decorated and a pleasant place to live. But it will always be a house and not a home.
3) We will go on family trips.
I am sure these are hell to organize and that when we come to having them I will want to pull my hair out, but I want to be able to have those family stories ‘remember that time when….’ and ‘wasn’t it funny when….’. If it is a trip to the movies, a stroll to the zoo or an extravaganza to the beach, we will go as a family.
4) I will encourage you to have a talent
I am average at a lot of things. But there is nothing that I am great at. I wish that from a young age my parents had encouraged me to follow one particular activity. I don’t care if you want to swim or dance, play the cello or run marathons. But I want you to have your thing, something to talk about, to turn to in times of stress and bring you happiness. I want it to teach you discipline and respect and I want you to enjoy it, to have it build you as a person.
5) We will eat as a family
It may not always be possible and there will most defiantly be the odd night where it is a take away on the sofa, but I promise that we will eat together without the television in the corner, we will talk and share things and be comfortable in each other’s company.
6) We will have family traditions
It may be a movie, every first Saturday of the month or Going shopping before your first day back at school, but we will have little traditions that we can continue throughout your life. Because it is the little things like that you remember, how every Saturday you were woken with pancakes or how on Friday night you took it in turns to pick the evening’s movie. They aren’t big things and I am sure we will slip up at times, but they will be worth the effort. I hope
7) I will take an interest in your school work
I have always been a really independent person and much prefer to get on with things on my own and proceed at my own pace. As much as this works for me, it is a lonely way to be. I sit in my room and work things out for myself. When I don’t understand I go to Google and when I am proud of work I tweet about it, sharing my pride with a faceless crowd. I don’t want my children to have to grow up like that. I am going to be sat at the front of all their plays and recitals and assembly’s. I will help them learn their lines and be supportive when they have a test the next day. I don’t want them to have to go through their educations feeling like they have to do it alone.
8) I will read to you every night
I want you to love reading. This is something my parents did for me and I will forever be grateful for. There are few greater pleasures in life than becoming fully immersed in a good book. To be able to feel what the character is feeling and see what they are seeing. To develop your imagination in this way will help get you through in times of need and hurt. Reading expands your vocabulary and gives you a sense of culture that will serve you well in life. I thank my parents for reading to me and filling my house with books to spark an interest in me from a young age. I don’t want books to be a thing you dread about school, I want them to be something you love about life.
9) I promise to have fun with you
This sounds obvious, but it really isn’t. I want you to be respectful and have manners, I want you to know limits and respond to authority. But I also want you to be able to relax around me, to form a bond that is stronger than arguments about bed times and pocket money. There will be times when we fight and when you feel like you hate me, there will even be times when I shout. But I want us to be able to laugh and giggle together, to have private jokes and play fighting. I don’t want us to fall in the trap of formality that is only to familiar in my life. Family should be close and comfortable around each other. I want us to have that.
10) I Promise not to spoil you
As much as I want you to enjoy life and to look forward to everyday, do not become complacent. Do not expect special treatment or for me to say yes all of the time, because then you will come to resent me when it does not happen. Occasionally I may make your lunch for school, or pick you up unexpectedly when you were going to have to get the bus, but for the most part I want you to be self-reliant and independent. Yes on your birthday and Christmas you will get spoilt, but do not expect to be. Be thankful for what you have and be proud at working hard for what you earn. You will have jobs around the house and occasionally they will be time consuming, but I will not be giving them to you because I am lazy but because I want to teach you responsibly. It will serve you well in life.
So, they are my ten promises and I will do my best to keep them. I don’t really know why I feel those ten particular things are so important, but they just are.
I feel the need to get some commenting going on here, so if you have a spare 5 minutes post your ten promises.