Cats and Kids
Have you heard the expression “scaredy cat”…and what about the expression “curiosity killed the cat”? How can it be that these two totally opposite expressions are talking about the same creatures? Don’t they have the same personalities? After all we are just talking about cats, aren’t we?
Well, I can attest to the fact that all cats were not born the same. I have three cats and each of them has its own personality. One of my cats is a “scaredy cat”; she runs and hides whenever anyone other than my daughter and I are in the house. She hisses at the other cats, and the dog. Another of my cats fits the bill completely when it comes to the “curiosity” expression. He’s been the same since he was born. He was the first of the litter to climb out of the basket and the first to master stair climbing. He is now the only one of the cats who continues to climb on the kitchen counter when I am getting their food ready, even though he KNOWS that he isn’t supposed to be there. My third cat’s personality is somewhere in the middle. He, however, likes to come into the bathroom with me, and when he has me where he wants me, he nips that little pad of fat just on the inside of my knee. It’s in the perfect position for a little nip when I am sitting there indisposed. The thing about my cats is that I love their individual unique personalities.
Right about now you might be saying to yourself, “Why are you talking about your cats? This is supposed to be a site about parenting? Who cares about your cats?”
Well, thinking about those two very opposite sayings and my cats started me thinking about my kids. My children, like my cats all have different personalities. The oldest and the youngest both have artistic tendencies but they exhibit them in different ways. The oldest is talented in interior design, the youngest likes to act. My second child has spent years in school and is finally a new lawyer. My third is a computer whiz. My first and third children are both entrepreneurs but again this is manifested in totally different ways. I am proud of all of them and love them all equally.
I recently heard a story about a family with twin girls who shared a bedroom. One side of the room was decorated pretty and “princessy” and the other side wasn’t decorated at all. It made me sad to think of the poor little girl whose parents favored her sister. How must she feel growing up in an environment where it’s so obvious that she is not “loved” as much as her sister. When my youngest daughter was still in school she had a best friend who wasn’t loved or accepted as readily as her younger sister because she didn’t do as well in school. Her parents yelled at her and belittled her constantly.
Think about it…do you accept your children for who they are? Do you encourage them to develop their own strengths and interests or do you insist that they be the person that YOU want them to be? Would you let your son be a dancer or a nurse if he wanted to be? And what about your daughter, would you be encouraging if she wanted to be a mechanic, or a construction worker? Are you able to be open enough that even though you have a dream of having a great football player in the family you can accept the fact that your son would rather study than play sports or vice versa? Do you insist that your children follow the path that you set out for them or do you foster an environment where they can come to you and open up about their dreams and their aspirations?
How did you answer those questions? Did you tell yourself the truth? Are you really able to accept who they are? And if not, are you able to grow so that you can?
Remember, our children are not possessions. Our job when they are very little is to keep them safe, socialize them, and start their teaching in reading, writing and arithmetic. But the most important job we have is to love them and to ensure that they know it. As they get older we need to encourage them and help them meet their potential and make sure that they still know that we love them. So no matter whether you have a sports loving Sarah or a studious Stan make sure that you love them and encourage them to be the best that they can be..