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Dear Son, Follow your heart...

The one thing I’ll never compromise on is my child's happiness. This may seem like stating the obvious, but hear me out. Of course, we want our children to be happy. But do they know what makes them happy? Or do they do things that make us happy?

What I'm trying to get at is that there are many things I want Little Dude to learn about life, but the one message I want to get across to him is: Follow your heart. This isn't just a mantra, but a skill that we need to teach our kids. It is the skill of making decisions for themselves. Yes, they should considerate and thoughtful to others, but for decisions that involve important aspects their lives, they should listen to their heart.

Dear son, Follow your heart

As parents, it's hard not to have expectations from our kids. But come to think of it, how many of those expectations did our parents have from us? Are we just following premeditated parenting patterns instead of giving way to freedom of  choice at every step?

Unconsciously, we may be following 'rules' set by society about what our kids 'should' be doing, especially when it comes to milestones, academics, and hobbies or sport. There is nothing wrong with girls baking or boys playing football, but we should be presenting enough opportunities for the reverse as well, especially when they are older.

If our children learn to follow their heart instead of following others, we will have more creative and unique individuals amongst us. And by this, I don't mean that they should be self-centered, but that they should recognise and cultivate their inner happiness.

I don't know if it was by their choice, but the way my parents raised me, I'm pretty competent at making my own decisions. I don't feel the need to ask for directions or affirmations in my life, though I welcome advice when it is offered. I realise that this is a good quality to have. It gives you confidence in yourself and the choices you have made. It also makes you responsible for them.

As a mother, I want to teach my son to think for himself. I want to involve him in decisions that may appear easy for me, but will open up his mind. I want him to believe that he's doing something that he wants to instead of being told to. I want him to know that he has a choice. That things don't always have to be a certain way because someone said so. I want him to know that he can make his own path if none are offered. I wish he doesn't worry about making an 'unpopular' choice just because it is different, as long as it is his.

I would like to tell him that instead of worrying about what others think, he should just think and allow his mind to roam free. I want him to care for others, and be so caring that he can be truly himself with them instead of living up to an unreal image.

So dear Little Dude, don't forget to listen to your heart. 
Find your own happiness, because your life is your canvas, 
and you can paint any picture you choose to.



This post has been linked to:

Positive Parenting 6120108676508090046

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40 comments

Janine Huldie said...

First off, Tarana so happy that you are co-hosting with us this week and want to thank you for joining us. Second, I love what you won't compromise on and I am a true believer myself in wanting my kids to be able to think freely for themselves. My parents always told me growing up to be a leader not a follower. I didn't always get the importance of this, but now I do and hope to god to teach my girls how very important and valuable it is to indue shave their own minds and not just follow what others do or think.

Tarana said...

It's a pleasure, Janine! Thinking independently is so important, and I'm glad to hear your parents stressed on this too.

Kat said...

I feel exactly the same way. I have never been one of those helicopter parents, guiding my children's every move. Thinking for yourself is a learned skill that can only come when kids are allowed to stand up and say what direction they want to go in. They still need our guidance, of course, but we can't let ourselves forget that they are individuals in their own right and not just extensions of us.

Tarana said...

You described it perfectly, Kat! That's how I feel too, although I can be a 'helicopter parent' sometimes when I'm feeling anxious.

Jen @ Real Life Parenting said...

Teaching our kids to follow their heart rather than follow the crowd ... that's one of the most important things we can do! Loved this post, Tarana!!

Dana said...

I think that this is such an important lesson to teach your child, and you are modeling it yourself as well. We won't be there to hold their hands forever, and raising an independent, free thinking person is one of the best things we can do as parents.

Kristi Rieger Campbell said...

Yes to letting our children make unpopular choices if they are their choices. It took me a really long time to feel confident in my decisions and I so hope that I help my son to have the confidence and bravery to follow his own heart. Such great advice and thanks so much for co-hosting with us this week!

Hawk said...

Found you through the FTSF link up and absolutely loved your post. It is so important to follow through on who we are! Good job on raising your son to think that way and I hope more parents follow in your footsteps!

claudoo said...

I too, hope that my son (and daughter) will be strong enough to listen to their hearts. Mine are 16 & 18, so the decisions are starting to get tougher and I'm hoping they continue to stay the course. This was a lovely post, your son is lucky to have such a wise mom.

Stephanie Sprenger said...

You totally have it right- teaching our kids to think for themselves is SO important. And also- I am the ONLY FTSF host who consistently forgets to link to the guest co-host! Please forgive me!! We are so happy to have you!

Anna Fitfunner said...

Hi Tarana: I loved this line: "I want him to care for others, and be so caring that he can be truly himself with them instead of living up to an unreal image." It expresses a wonderful aspiration for Little Dude, and he will thank you one day (if not already) for helping him grow into a happy, healthy adult because of it!

Ponies and Martinis said...

I love this. All I want is for my kids to be whoever they want to be, be it a mime or physicist.

Tarana said...

Thank you, Jen!

Tarana said...

That's right, Dana, independent thinking is such an important and understated skill.

Tarana said...

Thanks, Kristi!

Tarana said...

Thank you! I think it's one of the things we don't really think about because as parents, we are programmed to make decisions for our kids.

Tarana said...

Yes, they are at that age when their decision making skills will really be tested, even though they will still need guidance. Thanks!

Tarana said...

Totally okay, happens to all of us!

Tarana said...

Thank you, Anna! These are my aspirations anyway, I hope I fulfill them :)

ruchira said...

I agree with your perception, Tarana.
We gotta be their guide,but in the end they ought to find their path towards happiness.


Glad to see you are co-hosting this mega event. I love FTSF and their prompts :)

Tarana said...

Well said there!

Tarana said...

Thanks Ruchira, I love this linky too!

Kelly Mckenzie said...

Such an important message Tarana. I couldn't agree with you more. I've worked hard to instill that in both my kids. It's doable. My guys are 18 and 20 now and are capable of making up their own minds. It's so rewarding to see.

Kate Hall said...

I like this because I think we all have a number of things that are different, not mainstream, that we want to do, but often feel pressured to not do them because we won't fit in. I did this a number of times growing up. I don't know if it depends on the temperament of the child or how they're raised or both, but it's definitely something I want my children to not struggle with.

Tarana said...

Great to hear that, Kelly! I hope my little guy grows up to be like that too.

Tarana said...

Yes, temperament probably makes a difference, but I would at least like to encourage being different, if that's what they want to do. It's not always easy going against the grain.

Seychellesmama said...

Lovely post!! I think it's great advice and something we definitely should be encouraging in children. To be your own person and truly 'follow your heart' is no mean feat and I think it takes a strong and very well rounded person to be able to truly do that! X

JessMcGlynn said...

Really great post. It's something I think about often; how to inspire my children so that they are confident following their own paths, and not just following the crowd. It was something I always struggled with and I definitely want more for them and their futures. Really enjoyed reading this :) #sharewithme

Let's Talk Mommy said...

Ahhh you are amazing and what great advice to tell and teach your child. I love it and it almost made me cry to be honest. This world is so scary and with so many extra added pressures these days I am scared for both of my kids and I hope they know they can follow their heart as you say and nothing they want to do is out of reach even if it's not what society expect them to be or do. Brilliant post. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me. I absolutely love reading your blog and can't thank you enough for linking up and being one of my regulars. I look forward to it each week! #sharewithme

Susanne Remic said...

I want this for my kids too, and for them to have the courage to go for the things that are not easy, but the things that they want. I am 36 and only just learning this for myself. I hope it doesn't take them as long. x x x

Tarana said...

It's definitely not easy, Chantelle, but I'll try to do what I can to guide him in that direction.

carohoop1 said...

I too want this for my children, to be able to be themselves enough to follow their dreams. There is a fine line between letting them follow their own paths and also understand the importance of conforming in certain circumstances. Also to empower them with the confidence to be who they want to be without judgement, thanks you for a great post :) #sharewithme

Tarana said...

It's not going to be easy, but I hope he learns to follow his heart sooner than later. Thank you!

Tarana said...

It is a scary world for sure, and one where it's hard to be different. But in the end, that's how we an be happy. Thanks Jenny!

Tarana said...

Sometimes we forget what we really want, but at least we can remind our kids, right?

Tarana said...

I know, it's not going to be easy making decisions, it never is. As a mom, I can only hope I can guide him in doing what makes him happiest!

TheMissusV said...

Working on this! Growing up with a strict grandmother, I have the tendency to be controlling. Hangs head in shame. :(
But thank you for the reminder.

Chris Carter said...

I love this so much Tarana!! I try my best to truly inspire my kids to be WHO they want to be, and I am so proud of the choices they have made so far in defining who they are.

Tarana said...

We tend to be naturally controlling as adults, but we just need to keep reminding ourselves to let the kids go a bit!

Tarana said...

Glad to know you think this way too, Chris!

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