Let’s get kids to love stuff

man dangling noodles into his mouthWe 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.

Mike

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.


Enjoy what you just read? Leave a comment or like the post and we’ll ensure that you see more like this!

© Michael Wallevand, December 2019

How Do You Honor A Life?

This post was the hardest thing I’ve ever written, and I apologize if your heart breaks like mine.

I’d nearly forgotten.

It’s been eight years since the traumatic birth of our son. Benjamin spent 14 weeks in the hospital and needed oxygen and other breathing assistance even longer. With that much time in and out of hospitals, a family sees regular examples of how precious the miracle of life is. And how fragile.

When you emerge on the other side of your ordeal, you are stronger in many ways. You are grateful that your loved one has survived. You consider yourselves lucky because many families have had it worse. Unimaginably worse. Over time, your heart and mind are healed, but permanently damaged by some piece of emotional shrapnel you can never remove. Forevermore, when you see children suffering, that splinter of old anguish is a twisting knife in your heart.

It’s not something that many people discuss, and the closer you are to it, the less you try. Whether it’s the pain, the sadness, or the desire to talk about happier things, many of us don’t seek to have those uncomfortable conversations with anyone we know. Eight years ago I tried so share some of what I was seeing, but it was too sad and too depressing:  Things I Heard In The Hospital That Broke My Heart. I wrote that piece so I could always remember, and because I knew I’d want to forget.

Recently, I learned about the four-year-old son of my wife’s high school friend, and all the memories came crashing back.  Continue reading