From the time he could understand I tried to teach my son to have tolerance, kindness and self-belief. To have the confidence to stand his ground but to do so with respect and if possible, humour to take the heat from the discussion. The ideal that it’s not what you say, it’s the way that you say it.
At 16 I see him growing into a person with values that I admire, regardless of the fact that I am his mother though I am unsure it was my parenting rather than sheer good fortune. As a mother of any child in any place or culture there is always a guilt stick to beat yourself with. For me, aside from being a working mum, it has been the line between honesty in sharing the trials and tribulations of life and the responsibility of protecting him from them. Just when you think you have it sussed the line moves.
When he was tiny I remember longing for the next stage of his development but then it felt like I blinked and suddenly he was taller than me and wiser than me in so many ways. We recently had a discussion about diversity and his perspective is simple but eye opening. In a world of boxes are we creating problems rather than solving them? I see my son and his friends who just view people in 2 categories – nice and not so nice. They don’t see colour, class, sexuality or gender and I wish it could stay that way rather than some of them feeling that they have to fit in a box to fit in.
My hope is that they are given the freedom to find their place but not out of obligation. I hope to find a way not to sensor ourselves but instead to have the confidence to both ask and be asked questions so that we don’t offend and become offended.
I guess it goes back to when my boy was little and the lessons to be tolerant and kind.
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