To be completely honest, I don’t know if I even want to have kids. I’ve heard friends talk about how they can’t wait to be mothers, and I just never had that feeling. And I feel like too many people have kids just because they that’s what they feel like they’re supposed to do, and I don’t want to be one of them. So where my mind went with this question is less what I want to teach my kids, and more what I think all kids growing up right now should know. Not sure if that makes a difference, but I thought I’d throw it out there.
It’s okay to be yourself – no matter who that is. I grew up in a relatively strict, Catholic household. My mom is very up-front about her opinions, and she isn’t very open-minded or accepting of other beliefs or opinions. Even when it’s something completely insignificant. For example, she played sports in elementary and high school. I got flak for preferring to stay inside and read. I actually developed a habit of dumbing myself down when I speak because she used to laugh at me for sounding smart. It took me a long time to finally be okay with who I am and to learn to ignore those ridiculous expectations. I can only imagine what it would have been like growing up gay or transgender in a household like mine, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. So I’d like my kids to know that I’d accept and love them for who they are, whether they want to be an athlete or a drag queen. I don’t think anyone should ever have to hide who they are.
Do what you love. One thing my parents were actually really supportive of was my choice to study history and English. A lot of people in my family were pushing me to go into business or accounting. But I knew I’d hate it if I did. There were times when I did consider studying something that’s considered an easy path to a bigger paycheck (I actually came really close to applying to schools to get my MBA). But I’ve had jobs that I hated in fields I was not interested in, and it’s miserable. So, instead, I took a gamble on myself and decided to study something I love. Because, ultimately, I think I will be much happier with less money and a job I am passionate about than doing something I hate for a paycheck. I’d want my kids to make the same choice, because I don’t regret it one bit.
Read anything and everything. I have to admit that I’d be a little disappointed if my kids didn’t like to read. Because I think it gives you so many useful skills and opens your mind to so many different things. It’s made me a much better writer and I think it’s helped me understand people a lot better. I’d want my kids to nurture their imaginations and be able to develop educated opinions about the world around them. And I truly think reading can significantly improve both your brain and your quality of life.