You don't raise heroes, you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they'll turn out to be heroes, even if it's just in your own eyes.
~Walter M. Schirra, Sr.
My sons are truly my heros. I could not have done any of this without their love and support.
I am saving a special day to talk about them in the near future but for today I'm going to publish the following post that I wrote late last year as a writing exercise....
I was challenged to write about 10 lessons my kids could teach me. I was all set to do something kinda humorous about how to live in a single bedroom for days at a time surviving only on a bag of Doritos and a case of soda. Or how about the top best excuses as to why there is a huge dent on the side of the car. As I gave it more thought I realized that my sons, who are now young adults, have given me many lessons on life. Lessons on how to be a decent human being. This is what my kids have taught me.
1. It's okay to be right even if it is not the popular thing to do.
My kids have definitely broken some rules but never because they buckled under peer pressure. If the DMV says that you can't have anyone in your car while you have a provisional drivers license then no one else can be in the car. It's okay to go to the chick flick with your date if that what she wants to do. Under no circumstances is it okay to drink and drive. And my favorite...it's okay to hang out with your mom.
2. Be kind.
Be kind to everyone and everything. Don't hit. Don't make fun of. If you have nothing nice to say then don't say anything. Smile and be gentle.
3. Don't let a bad day get the best of you.
We all have bad days...the kind where nothing goes right. The kind of day that starts with locking the keys in the car, having the computer crash, loading up the washing machine and finding no soap, etc. On these kind of days my sons just simply roll with it. They deal with each bummer move one at a time. Luckily these days don't happen very often but when they do its water off their back.
4. Have fun and laugh a lot.
My kids truly believe in humor. Good fun humor. Nothing that would ever harm anyone and the only person they laugh at is themselves. And they do that a lot! I could go on and on with their antics but one example is this...
My older son gave my younger son a horse mask for his birthday last year. We happened to be celebrating birthdays on a family cruise when he got this present. Needless to say there were quite a few laughs watching my son walk around the ship with the mask on. To see the other passengers reactions was hysterical. I was told recently that they drove down the freeway with my son sticking his head out of the car window with the mask on. Just like real horses do. Can you imagine driving along side that?!
5. Don't be afraid to try new things.
Over the years they have rock climbed, gone kayaking and zip-lined. They have played badminton, lacrosse and rugby. They learned how to play chess. One son even picked up knitting. They go to art museums.
6. Be nice to your mother.
She is the only one you have. I can see how they are patient with me, they don't snap at me and they treat me with respect. They remind me that I should do the same with my own mother.
7. Have a strict "no family as friends" on Facebook.
While this might sound a little hypocritical to #6 it's actually a good thing. I admit I was a little bit hurt when my kids de-friended me. They explained to me its just so not cool to have your Mom, Grandma, and Uncle Danny making goofy comments for all their friends to see. I have to admit they are right. And trust me... you do not want to see any party pics that might pop up when someone tags them. The only exception to this rule is that it's okay to friend your brother. That's it.
8. Family traditions are important.
The traditions that we all start when the kids are little are just as important twenty years later. If you put carrots out and made Santa footprints with baby powder coming out of the fireplace be ready to keep that up every year at Christmas. Keep hanging the kindergarten made ornaments. Everybody still gets an Easter basket. Pumpkin pie is still made from scratch. And speaking of pie one family tradition we started... we have pie on March 14 because it's "pi day 3.14159". Yes we are geeks!
9. Don't eat crap.
My boys will no longer eat at Mcdonalds or Burger King or any other fast food restaurant. They are appalled when I do and then proceed to read off the (un)nutritional value of each item I'm eating. If they eat out it has to be at a sit down place. As a result they cook for themselves a lot. They are becoming quite creative in the kitchen and can whip up a decent meal.
They believe in seeing the world. They will hop in the car and go on road trips at the spur of the moment. They each have been to Europe, Canada, Iceland and Mexico. They love to explore new cities. Life should be an adventure.
11. Have an open mind and respect others beliefs.
Every body has a right to believe in their own beliefs. It's important to accept that. Unfortunately I was not raised that way at all. My open mind comes from them. They accept everybody for who they are. They truly believe that every one has the right to be themselves. It is truly a gift to learn this lesson from them. What a world this would be if everyone accepted each other for who they are.