So I have come upon an interesting situation, the handling of which is a little too delicate for my own personal taste, so I decided to write a little about it. I tend to be an opinionated person, which has gotten me into trouble for a very long time. This is a trait that I try very hard to hide from my son, who I would rather he emulated his more diplomatic mother rather than his over-opinionated bloviating father! So I have decided to write more of a diary entry about what its like to be opinionated yet making sure your child remains an open child who loves everyone.
1. The past matters
The whole reason behind my opinions started so long ago, that being in my own house, you were expected to have an opinion about the world around you and the life you were both living and the lives you were watching. Watching the news, reading the newspaper, and having long discussions about philosophy, politics and economics were common in my household. I try to introduce some of these things at home, but I do know that my son is way too young to have to know, care, or experience any of these things. So changing a cycle becomes important, because although I was always able to form an intelligent argument, in the end those things don’t make a happy childhood. In fact, it makes you very different from everyone around you in some not-so-good ways.
The whole thing about opinions is that they should evolve over time. Just because one believes and states something categorically one day, there is no commitment to that opinion over time. This is one thing I do hope to teach Lucas, that being that no one should be tied to any one idea for a long time. I have been liberal and conservative, Republican and Democrat, etc. I have read so many things that have colored and shaped the opinions I have about the world around me, but in the end, experiencing the world first hand changes my opinions on a regular basis. The thing I want Lucas to learn from this kind of ability is to never get too tied down to any one idea. There is never just one right answer, and there is never just one way to find happiness in life. Opinions should evolve the same way that people move from childhood to adulthood.
3. Sometimes you are wrong
I know I have been in this situation where I pontificate about some subject that I think I know something about, and then someone introduces a fact that completely blows my opinion out of the water. What are you supposed to do then? Stay married to an opinion or an idea? Isn’t more important to learn new information and incorporate that information into your life in positive, healthy ways? This is the one trait I have that I know will help Lucas as he grows into an adult and learns how to be a good friend, a good teammate, and a good partner in a relationship. Never be afraid to admit you are wrong. We are all human, we all make mistakes, and we are all wrong sometimes. Admitting this humanity helps everyone move forward.
All in all, it is healthy and normal to have opinions about the world around you, just like it is healthy and normal for others to have different and self-specific opinions about their own worlds and viewpoints. Understanding that life is so different for everyone can be such a great skill to teach our children, but it is very difficult because some of our adult-themed opinions can get in our way. Happy Parenting!