When I was a little girl I distinctively remember thinking that I was lucky to have the smartest parents in the world. I remember feeling sorry for all the other children who did not have my parents for their parents.
All children deserve to feel this way when they are little and depend on a secure environment.
Of course, as it turns out, my parents are not the smartest people in the world. They only had eight years of formal education and were farmers all their lives.
However, I am thankful for the fact that I had the opportunity as a child to feel this way. The reasons I did were manifold, starting with my parents’ self-confidence to know what is right and wrong, and what is happening and why, or so I thought at the time. We lived on a small farm in a small village, where everybody essentially was the same (farmers). There was no Internet, no smart phone and the children’s TV program lasted only 60 to 90 minutes, depending on the day of the week.
I grew up in a house without central heating and without central plumbing. There was no bathroom in the house, and in winter the room I shared with my brother would be so cold in the morning, that we dreaded to get up. Still, I never felt poor as a child growing up. Most families I knew lived the same way.
Today, my own children have every comfort they can imagine and more. They are exposed to a lot more dimensions of reality and their senses are overloaded. They also have a lot more homework than I ever had.
In the end however, my job as a parent has not really changed from my parents’ job. Essentially it is to make them feel secure and loved. I don’t need them to think that I am the smartest person in the world nor do I necessarily want to shelter them from the complexity of the world. But my hope is that they grow up feeling loved, confident, and strong to face a complex, pluralistic, globalized world, show kindness and love to others, and make smart decisions their grandparents would be proud of.