Aiden: Mommy, when I grow up, can I still live with you?
Me: You can live with me until you finish college. Then, you have to find your own place to live.
Aiden: Until I finish Columbia?He's already speaking it into existence. That's my boy!
You see, I've been talking to Aiden about going to college since he was an infant. He's been talking back to me about it since he was a toddler. We've visited Columbia's campus several times and he is very much aware that that's where I went to college. Obviously he doesn't know the specifics about getting into college, but he does know that you need to work really, really hard in school in order to get to college. And that's any college, not just Columbia.
"Mommy, I wish we had a million dollars so we could give it to old, old men. Because they don’t have any homes or food or clothes."
This is a random thought that Aiden shared with me one morning during our commute to his school. To him, “old, old men” refers to the homeless men that we see on the subway and streets of NYC.
I've been talking to Aiden about our charge to help others in need since he was an infant. He's been talking back to me about it since he was a toddler. We talk about the fact that life is not just about him, that he's a part of a larger community, with a larger mission, and a larger purpose -- to be a blessing to others. Sometimes I'm not sure if our talks are actually meaningful to him.
Sometimes I even get discouraged.
But then. Then he shows an interest in helping homeless men. Then he asks to donate a few of his toys to the day care center that is down the block from my job. Then he trades his favorite ninja turtle toy with a friend from school in order to get a toy that he thought my niece (his cousin) would like. That's when I know that he is indeed learning about the needs of others and he is flourishing into a very sweet and compassionate little boy.
When we enter our apartment building, I expect him to greet the doorman. When there are people in the elevator with us, I expect him to greet them too. Before bedtime, I expect him to say his prayers. When he speaks to people, I expect him to look them in the eye. When he meets someone new, I expect him to shake their hands and greet them by saying, "Hello, my name is Aiden."
You see, with every conversation that I Aiden and I have, with every expectation that I reinforce for him, I am planting seeds. Seeds that'll help him grow into the person that he is capable of becoming. Seeds that'll allow him to reach his full potential. Seeds that'll help steer him towards greatness.
And when you speak with your children, that's exactly what you're doing -- planting seeds. With every conversation, with every expectation that you set, and with every lesson you teach... you are planting seeds. So they can be great.
So be encouraged today.
Keep planting. Keep harvesting. Keep helping them flourish. And most of all, keep loving them.