Passing Along Lessons From Generation to Generation, From Parent to Child
Parenthood is one of life’s most magnificent adventures. It’s full of unknowns, a fact which can be equal parts exhilarating and terrifying. Welcoming a new child to the family, or planning to set up sentiments that can be opened upon a future new arrival? Here are some ideas to encourage those special new parents-to-be.
Make a “milestone timeline” to organize your thoughts and express your sentiments:
Pregnancy or foster/adoption process: I wish for you a complication-free pregnancy. I wish for you the experience of your baby’s fluttering kicks. I wish for you to hear the sound of a healthy heartbeat. I wish for you to be matched with a child who will complete your family.
Labor and delivery: I wish for you grace and strength as you bring a new life into the world. I wish for you a team of nurses, doctors, and midwives who will care for you and your new child in these important first moments of your life together.
Infant: I wish for you long naps and quiet cuddles, and peaceful nights among the sleepless ones. I wish for you the joy of seeing your baby’s first smile, her first time rolling over, her first time sitting on her own. I wish for you the ability to let the dishes stay in the sink so you can fully enjoy your beautiful baby.
Toddler: I wish for you the amazing privilege of helping your child walk, talk, and become a more independent tiny human. I wish for you endless patience to sustain you through your toddler’s tantrums. I wish for you to see the world with the wide-eyed curiosity and wonder of your little one.
Elementary School: I wish for your child a school and team committed to helping him or her thrive. I wish for you a comforting word or hug when you see them off to school for the first time.
Teenager: I wish for you compassion for your child as they develop into a young adult. I wish for you the discernment necessary to know when your child needs space and when a hug is in order.
Young adult: I wish for you the peace and confidence of a job well done when your child is ready to venture out on their own. I wish for you the joy of watching them throw their graduation cap into the air. I wish for you many visits home after he or she moves away.
You could also develop wishes around the following parenting themes:
Capturing the joy: I wish for you the simple pleasure of sharing an ice cream cone or blowing bubbles together. I wish for you to remember how fast the years fly, and to slow down and treasure these moments as often as you can.
Practical advice: I wish for you these tried and true “secrets” about…
- putting your child to sleep
- getting her to take a bottle
- nursing advice
- colic and crying
- feeling like a “bad” mother/father
- tips for picky eaters
- trouble with making friends
- dealing with moody teenagers
- being a parent first, friend second
- building trust
- protecting your child without being a helicopter parent
- dating and relationship advice
Encouragement for the hard days: I wish for you good friends who will support you when the days are long, and for grace to see tough times through. Your child will remember your strength and fortitude—be bold, be strong…be you!