I’ve had a lot if goals in my life: when I was 8, I decided I wanted to go to college on Vermont and I did.
I always wanted to be a writer and after crushing some self-doubt and finding my voice, I am.
My dream was to live in the same town I grew up in, have kids and send those kids to the same elementary school I went to; done and done.
But the big one, the goal that has taken the most out of me and will continue to deplete me of all my energy and strip the color right out of my hair is raising kids who are aware.
I’m not talking about raising kind kids but yes, so much that. We all want to raise kids who are kind – to others and themselves.
But let’s face it, you can be kind but also a bit selfish. You can be chatting it up with the person behind the counter at the local Starbucks without taking the time to notice the line behind you is flowing out the door and these people might have places to be.
You can be nice and say hello and smile to someone walking in a door you are walking out of, and miss the fact their hands are full and they could really benefit from you holding the door open for them.
And I don’t know how many times I’ve been somewhere, a restaurant or store, and seen an adult or child who’s a few bucks short on their food, or their shoes, or whatever, and no one says, “Here have few bucks, enjoy.”
Instead, most people are worried about how it is taking up their precious time, and really, Shouldn’t that person know how much something costs?
There is a huge lack of awareness in this world.
Trying to keep my kids woke is a full-time job. And I’ll take it because one, I signed up for this as soon as I decided to procreate. But also, I refuse to let my kids leave these four walls and not know how to see, truly see, other people. I want it all and it’s not too much to ask for.
I want kind kids who are compassionate and aware that someone may be suffering.
I want them to be aware of the problems happening in the world and I want them to want to do something about it.
I want them to be aware they should shower if they have body odor because that crap smells bad and no one should have to be forced to sit next to them on a bus or train with that scent floating through their nostrils.
I want them to take 2 seconds to announce to the rest of the family there is only one brownie left and see if someone wants to split it with them.
And it feels like I am constantly sending them a few reminders a day to look around and be aware of others because well, I am.
I know they try (some days anyway), but teens are wired to be selfish and think of only themselves and their world most of the time. They could all use reminders (even the really, really good ones) that the world’s way bigger than them, and a little bit of awareness can go far.
I have days where it feels like all the frustration and sweat I spent teaching them how to share and say “please” and “thank you” has gone down the kitchen sink.
And when I see my son drink out of the milk container, or my daughter eat all the crackers except for one, so she doesn’t have to throw away the box, I have zero chill.
They know better but they aren’t practicing their awareness that has taken me so long to instill into their heads and then they have the audacity to wonder why this affects me the way it does.
And so it goes.
I start again, some days I do better than others, but I will keep on keeping because sooner or later I know these teachings will stick and my biggest goal in life can be crossed off my list and I can take a nap for a year or two.