I was having dinner at a restaurant a few weeks ago and sat behind a group of women who were having a serious conversation on “what their preschool children should know”. One mother was bragging that her three year old son could “write his first and last name, count to 60, and knew all his planets”. Another lady replied; that her daughter, who just turned four, “could count to 100, write her phone number, and without difficulty recite her whole alphabet”. The third mother said: “her son knew his alphabet, could count to 50, and most importantly, can pinpoint where 20 states are on the map”.
I sat patiently waiting for my food and honestly tried not to focus on their conversation but it bothered me greatly that these mothers were being so competitive. I was waiting for trophies to fall from nowhere and award these mothers who claim to have the “FINEST and SMARTEST child”. I had given up on these four women, when finally one of the mothers said: “childhood should not be a race; I believe that my child will develop and learn at her own pace”. She continued to say: “I am astonished how she can drink from a regular cup, put on her velcro running shoes, and sometimes pack her special stuff for a sleep over at her grandma’s house”. Believe me, it took every fiber in my body not to turn around and give her a high five. There is a lot more to learn than letters and numbers. It is important to give a child the skills to be successful in everyday life.
I wish I could have told those mothers that children should know;
That the world is MAGICAL and that she/he is wonderful, special, unique and brilliant.They should know that we will facilitate his/her interests and encourage them to follow them. They should know that using their imagination and creative thoughts are marvelous and acceptable. They should know how to make mud pies, grassy soup, and pine needle spaghetti, build stick houses for bugs and simply enjoy nature as a way to learn and understand about the world around them. Our children need to know that they are loved unconditionally and that we as parents will stand by them no matter what undesirable things they do.
Our children need to know that they are loved, and that they come first before anything else in this world.
The best gifts we can give our children are an uncompetitive and cheerful childhood.