I have to admit, the 15 minutes I spent pondering the questions I posed the other day about what we want out of our lives were the 15 minutes I spent lying in bed as I drifted off to sleep. It is really, REALLY hard to find even just a few minutes of quiet alone time when you’re a mom.
So I’ll ask again: What do we want out of our lives, and how can we teach our children to have great expectations?
I still have no solid answers. I do know that 15 minutes is not enough time for such serious questions.
However, as I have let those questions mull around in my mind for the last several days (as I’m doing dishes, running errands and wiping bums), I think I may have had a tiny insight about question number 2.
I think one of the biggest things we can do to teach our children that they can expect great things is to expect great things from ourselves. Kids are little sponges, and if the person they look to every day for guidance (i.e., you) is always seeming unsure, saying derogatory things about herself, and lacking confidence in pursuing a goal, that’s what those kids are going to learn.
It reminds me of the story Maya Angelou tells about her grandmother who, after finding herself a single, Black mother in 1903 Arkansas and determined not “to work as a domestic and leave her ‘precious babes’ to anyone else’s care,” she decided to start selling meat pies to the workers at the cotton gin and lumber mill in town. The business eventually grew to be a successful general store between the two factories during the Great Depression.
Her grandmother (who raised Angelou for much of her childhood) had found herself in a situation she did not want, but expecting that she could do it and that it would be a successful endeavor, she made it happen and did not give up when business was slow. And look who she raised: the strong, determined, courageous woman that is Maya Angelou.
So, yes. I still need to decide what I want out of my life at this point. And yes, I still need to think about more ways to teach my specific children how to reach their specific goals. But as I sit down to consider what I want out of my life, I absolutely must do so with confidence, fully expecting that what I want is completely within reach.
And since she is ultimately a much more eloquent writer than I am, I’ll leave you with Angelou’s words as you consider the question of what you want out of your life:
“Each of us has the right and the responsibility to assess the roads which lie ahead, and those over which we have traveled, and if the future road looms ominous or unpromising, and the roads back uninviting, then we need to gather our resolve and, carrying only the necessary baggage, step off that road into another direction. If the new choice is also unpalatable, without embarrassment, we must be ready to change that as well.”
With love and encouragement,
— The Conscious Mom