“If I had my child to raise over again,
I’d finger paint more, and point the finger less.
I’d do less correcting, and more connecting.
I’d take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I would care to know less, and know to care more.
I’d take more hikes and fly more kites.
I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I’d run through more fields, and gaze at more stars.
I’d do more hugging, and less tugging.
I would be firm less often, and affirm much more.
I’d build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I’d teach less about the love of power,
And more about the power of love.
It matters not whether my child is big or small,
From this day forth, I’ll cherish it all.”
I recently read an article by Mariam Navaid Ottimofiore (via Kitty) about the benefits of traveling with young kids:
“If I had a penny for the number of times, well-meaning friends and family have looked at me and asked “why do you travel so much with young kids? It’s not like they’ll remember any of it!”
The words between the lines are of course this idea that travel is wasted on their young minds. That all they will have, are photographs to look back upon when they are older. That they won’t remember hiking up temples in Cambodia, or riding on mules to explore the lost city of Petra. They won’t remember feeding giant tortoises in the Seychelles, or visiting the memorial church in Berlin. That the true benefits of travel can only be enjoyed as a young adult. That the money spent on traveling the world with them is somehow wasted.
To this I usually respond tongue-in-cheek “well, then why take them to a playground or push them on a swing? Why read them a book or cuddle with them at bedtime? They won’t remember any of that either.”
Travel is the same. Except wait, it’s even better. It’s about the experience. Of making memories together. And this is the part they will remember.”
Overseas travel with young kids is insanely hard but we’ve found it very worthwhile. We’ve taken our young children to Malaysia (Junior Pixels), Los Angeles/San Francisco (Junior Pixels), Sri Lanka/Singapore (Junior Pixels and Little Bear), Auckland (all three) and San Diego/Palm Springs/Los Angeles (all three), and we still have fond memories.
And it’s not only about the kids: it’s about us having fun too. Why wait until the kids are old(er) to have fun ourselves?
We’re taking our three boys to Malaysia (via Singapore) at Easter this year to experience another culture, and we’re all looking forward to it already.
Often when I leave for work in the morning, Little Bear, now 15 months old, will cry for me not to leave.
It breaks my heart, but at the same time I love how close we have become in such a short time.
One thing I’ll never regret doing is taking a couple of months off when each of my kids were born to bond with them. I’ve not yet met another dad who has done this: either they think it’s pointless (‘they just sleep’) or have a large mortgage and can’t afford time off. But for me, it’s the best thing I have ever done.
Early infanthood and childhood is such an amazing time, but so critical in that you need to get it right otherwise it’ll have lifeline effects on your kids. That’s why I am continually amazed how modern society outsources raising of our babies to random strangers in childcare centers. I guess that’s what large household debt does to people.
Every day I am grateful that we have this amazing time with our two sons and no debt. We are also very excited to be expecting a third child in July.