“I hope someday you have a daughter (or son) just like you!” I am sure we have all heard it. Many of us may have even said it from time to time. But how many of us ever heard it with the undertones of love and pride, when we were doing something marvelous?!?! I know I never did. It was always with negative undertones and said when I was doing something wrong/naughty/etc.
It struck me one day, as I was saying it with disdain to my son who was (yes this is true) trying to skate board while wearing roller blades. I was panic stricken as I stood with my back to him and just heard a THUD and a skate board fly past me down the driveway. Luckily, the 11 year old boy-wonder was laughing and not injured. But I was NOT laughing. All I could think of was how lucky he was that he didn’t crack his skull open on the garage floor, break a limb, and otherwise ruin his (and our!) summer. This child has NO fear and is always testing me. So I said it. With a touch of anger, a pinch of fear, and a smidge of disappointment in his lack of thinking this dangerous act through. I looked him in the eye and with more disgust than I had intended, I said, “I hope someday you have a son JUST LIKE YOU!” And you know what he said???
“ME TOO! Because I am AWESOME!!!”
It is then that it hit me. I will never forget that moment. Talk about a “lightbulb moment”. He was 100% right!! He IS awesome. He is fearless! And creative! And imaginative! And, as stupid as it seemed to me for him to attempt such a feat, he thought it was brilliant and brave and, in his words, “amazing!” So I took the disgust and disdain out of my voice, and said it again. WIth love, and admiration, and awe…. “I hope someday you have a son just like you!” And I gave him a hug. (along with a long lecture on exactly WHY he should never attempt that again…at least without a suit of armor and strong helmet. And, preferably, while standing on a very padded surface NOT wearing roller blades and without a skateboard.)
Why is it that this saying is so often said with negativity? Why would we tell our children that we hope they have kids like them like it is a BAD thing?? Isn’t that then just telling our children that THEY are bad? Sending a message that they are not awesome?? But something to fear, and NOT want? Think about it.
I heard this phrase a LOT growing up. When my room was messy. When I didn’t get homework in on time. When I was late for curfew. When I didn’t clear the table quick enough. When I talked back to my parents. When my sister and I were screaming at each other. Always when I was in trouble. Like I was such a horrible child that I was a curse to them, and so they wanted to put the curse back on me. That they hoped I would have to suffer with a child as horrible as I was.
And now, all these years later, I caught myself sending that SAME message. I know some people say it out of fun, sarcastically, as a joke. But do the children understand the joke? Do they get that you are just kidding? My guess is not completely.
So I have changed my attitudes. Changed my tone. From that point forward, I will only say that to my children out of love and pure adoration. I DO hope they have children just like them. Because they are AWESOME.