We got a text from our neighbor this morning. His daughter loves to cook (she gets it from him) and was enthused that we were enjoying the things she made. They both like to share, and my wife often makes something in return. Here’s what the text said:
Her response to you using her frosting: “Yay! That makes me happy! Let’s make big fat noodles next, everyone likes noodles.”
As you might expect, my response was encouraging, and not just because I really do like big fat noodles. I saw that she loved cooking and I never want her to lose that passion. Simple as that.
As a parent, it’s not that hard to recognize the importance of helping your child find something they like, and then foster a love of that within them. It’s not just about developing a relationship with them, but it’s about helping them find things that bring them joy and might guide them their entire lives. This morning, I was reminded of the important role that adults – not just parents – play here.
As a society, we have so many ways to teach children. Whether with family, community organizations, or simply how we comport ourselves when we’re out in the world. For me, I’m hoping to contribute in a way more meaningful than teaching kids, by example, that trolling gets you ahead in life. Or, that by being a spiteful a-hole, it somehow makes you a better person than the person you disagree with. I’d rather live in a society where we build each other up together, as opposed to standing on the backs of others to accomplish our selfish goals.
And so, the Book of the Lost Royals project keeps this philosophy in mind. The world can be a dark place if we never kindle some light. If I can help kids develop a love of reading, great! If I can get them to write or pursue some other creative passion, even better.
At the very least, we get some big, fat, made-from-scratch noodles. At best, we send someone out into the world who will inject joy and love into it.
PS: Did you note the use of gender-neutral pronouns? Probably not. See? It’s a painless transition for all of us, and maybe if makes nonbinary kids a little more comfortable in this world while maybe reducing the hate that others are fostering in our kids.
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© Michael Wallevand, December 2019