As a mother, I can attest to how often us moms worry we're doing everything wrong and, as a result, screwing up our kids. So it's nice (read: necessary) to stop our self-hazing and reflect upon — even for a moment — all of our positive traits. It's difficult to look at ourselves in a favorable light, which is unsettling because moms are so incredible. So, I asked moms to share the one thing they hope they'll pass on to their kids and, surprisingly, they were all very forthcoming. It's obvious that we, as mothers, want to pass on our most flattering attributes to our children, but since we are taught to be modest, it's sometimes difficult to get moms to discuss their greatness.
I'd like for my children to get my confidence. While I struggled with my weight throughout my young adulthood, I never allowed it to define who I was. My confidence is partly innate and partly learned/taught. My paternal grandmother was the most self-assured woman I ever knew. Sure, she had many insecurities, some probably no one knew about, but the way she presented herself was always with boldness. She spoke like she owned the conversation and when she entered the room, everyone knew to pay attention.
My mother always told me I was the best at everything I did. She inflated my confidence and she did it deliberately, knowing how important it is to build self-esteem in girls. Because of my mom and my grandmother, I hardly ever falter when speaking my mind. I grab opportunities the moment they appear on the horizon and create my own when I can't see any. My self-assurance allowed me to not be a follower when I was younger, and to generally not care what people say or think about me. That confidence is what keeps me afloat when I feel like I'm drowning. I want my kids to have it, too.
"I would love, love, love to pass on my strange but awesome ability to keep and maintain friendships. I work hard to sustain relationships and have friends from every single part of my life (elementary through college, day camp, overnight camp, work, mommy friends, etc). It’s one of my most favorite things about myself."
"I would like to pass on to my kids my sense of kindness, compassion, sympathy, and empathy. This world needs more love and understanding. I hope my kids don't turn blind eye to people in need and help when they can. I hope they never turn the other way because it's easy or because it is 'not their problem.'"
"My love for the arts."
"I would love for my daughter to carry on my sense of perseverance. Life has handed me a lot of challenges but, despite those challenges, I have kept going and I have always reached my goals, no matter how far away they seemed. I hope for my daughter that she has that same perseverance."
"Loyalty and strength. Got those from my mommy."
"I wish my kid inherited the concept of ‘have to even when you do not want to’. I feel like a lot of children nowadays do not have it."
"Work ethic, persistence, and drive that we had as first generation immigrants. That is harder to instill in kids born in the United States."
"My patience. My ability to just stop and soak in the situation and observe the world around me. I've always been more of a listener than a talker, so it comes naturally to me. This is the age of instant gratification and it would be nice for my daughter to just stop being busy and just appreciate the people and the things that surround her."
"Love for your culture and your heritage, and love of reading and learning."
"My grit and resiliency. Life has a way of knocking you down. How you choose to deal with those challenges will shape who you become. You eventually learn lessons, like independence and overcoming fear when you're embarrassed to ask for something you want or need. Those are important skills that you just don't get if you don't learn to persevere and get up again after being knocked down."
"How important love and friendship are between siblings. I hope they see and feel the bond that I have with my sister and with my brother-in-law. I want to pass down the understanding that they are only going to have each other (through thick or thin) when we are gone. Spouses can leave. Children grow up and move away. But siblings are built-in best friends."
"One thing I would like to pass on to my kid is the ability to not hold on to the past. I don't blame my childhood or the way my parents did or didn't do things. I take responsibility for my own life and I hope [my daughter] always does also."
"I would love to pass on the ability to love and forgive. It’s OK to learn and become strong but also be able to forgive and move ahead."
"I want my child(ren) to have the confidence that I've been working on and striving to keep for 32 years. I want them to have confidence in themselves, both when they excel and when they fall short. I want them to have confidence to speak up for others instead of being bystanders. I want them to be confident enough to explore, question, and debate. I want them to be confident to ask why until their curiosity has been truly satiated. I want them to have the confidence to always be true to themselves whenever facing family, friends, foes, and even good ole' mom and dad."
"The knowledge and understanding of the struggles my parents went through as dirt poor immigrants when we first came here. I was 6, but I saw it firsthand, and as much as I may have wanted many things (toys, those specific brand of shoes that all the other kids wore (vans specially), I just knew it was a matter of me getting something or us having food. Today’s kids, at least the ones who are now one-generation removed, lack that sense, and I so desperately want to pass that knowledge and understanding down to them without the actual struggle. I want them to value hard work and family sticking together the way I do (I suppose many first generation kids do/did) and want them to work hard because nothing is ever going to be handed to them. I guess that’s not really a character trait but more of a life experience, but I want them to know it and for it to shape who they are."
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