Parenting is really fun, but also very challenging.
One of the most challenging things, is figuring out how to teach my kids all of the important information that they need to know to be happy, successful, well-adjusted adults.
I compiled a short list of the basic conversations that I have had (or still need to have) with my children. Some of the conversations are short and simple, and some are more complex.
- The importance of sharing and being kind. Obviously, no one wants a self-centered, tantrum-throwing, little person (or big person) in the house. If a toddler can learn to share and be kind, then (hopefully) he/she will grow up to be a loving, empathetic person.
- Learning how to work. Most kids hate working, but work is vital. Work gives kids (and adults) a sense of purpose, accomplishment and pride.
- The puberty/sex talk. This can be uncomfortable for both the parents and the kids. With my first kids, we made the mistake of waiting until they were in fifth grade to have “the talk”. Over the years, I have realized that the sooner I can talk to my kids about sex and puberty, the better.
- The value of learning and education. Learning, and knowing how to learn, is key to being successful in jobs and in life.
I know there are a lot of other important conversations, but I figured my list covered the basics.
I figured wrong. I failed to have one very important conversation.
I forgot to tell my kids that their sexual orientation is beautiful.
I almost had to learn about my mistake the hard way. I almost had to lose my son to suicide. Fortunately, he was patient with himself, and with me.
He explained to me how growing up homosexual made him feel ugly, sinful, broken, wrong, unloved, and unwanted. He explained all the little (and big) things that I had done, that made him think I hated homosexuals. He showed me my homophobia (that was a painful lesson). He taught me how to respect and love the LGBTQ community. He forgave me and taught me how to be a better mother.
I want every parent to understand the importance of this conversation. I don’t want to hear about another LGBTQ teen suicide (I have heard too many). I don’t want my kids, or anyone else’s to think that their orientation is anything but beautiful.
Diversity is a beautiful thing.
If you want to truely understand the importance of this conversation, read this wonderful blog post.