When my husband and I started having kids back in 2003 we thought long and hard, over the following years, about what “things” were important to us as parents. The “things” we wanted to ensure our kids learned and valued. My husband was an athlete his whole life. He was a diver from the age of 10 until the age of 22 and then went on to coach for another 8 years. I, on the other hand, spent my formative years struggling for survival in a rough neighbourhood and then went into the workforce right after high school. We both agreed that we wanted our children to have some of what he grew up with and none of what I did.
The one thing that he always said was that being in a sport kept him out of trouble. He was training before school and after school and then on weekends he was competing in diving meets. He doesn’t remember much about high school and most of the people in his class. There just wasn’t the time to just “hang out” like the other kids did. Most of the friends he spent his spare time with were other divers, who had the same busy schedule as he did. To this day, at the age of 47, the friends he laughs the most with and connects the most with are people from his diving past. No matter how much time passes between them, if you put a few divers in a room together, they can laugh and share stories for hours! It continues to amaze me that no matter where we travel in the world, at some point he will connect with some stranger thru sport, either at the airport or on the beach. It is a universal binder. And so from my husbands experience with sport, we decided that each of our children would choose 1 sport. That became our first pillar of parenting.
It’s no secret that I didn’t have the most pleasant childhood. I am trying to hold on to the good parts and let go of the hurt parts. I may not have been an athlete but I did participate in some sports at school and enjoyed them a lot. However the one thing that I got lost in was music. I love music and for as far back as I can remember, always have. It was a way for me to connect with something to release my sadness or anger. I loved music so much that I sang in our school choir and then the competition choir and was also in band. I loved everything about it. How my voice was only 1 in a group but it made the group more powerful with me in it. We are strong believers in the idea that music education in young children makes them strong learners and stimulates their brains aiding the understanding of math and science. My husband has had music in his family for his entire life as his favourite uncle was a musician and loved jazz. When this beloved uncle passed away from cancer his piano was left to him. This was a no brainer, music became our second pillar of parenting.
We live in Canada. It is beautiful. In Canada we have 2 official languages, English and French. Not only does being fluent in both languages give you more employment opportunities as an adult, it also makes traveling easier. If you are fluent in french it is far easier to pick up other languages like spanish and italian. I learned a very moderate amount of french throughout my school years and I still find it useful when we travel. And like music and art, many doctors have said that learning a second language has educational learning benefits for the brain pathways. Therefore, learning a second language became our third pillar of parenting.
Sport – Music – Language
These are the 3 pillars of parenting that WE chose for our children in hopes that these pillars would educate, enrich, occupy, strengthen and round out our 4 children.
Do you have “pillars of parenting” for your children? What are they?