My wishes for children: I wish they could grow according to their natural pace, sleep when sleepy, eat when hungry, cry when upset, play and grow without being unnecessarily interrupted. To be allowed to grow and blossom as each was meant to be, not molded or shoved into some mode of faddism that confines like a violin case.
I wish children would NOT have to do: 1) Perform for their parents; sit up when ready for rolling, walk when ready for crawling. A child can be pushed to do these things, but physiologically may not be really ready. In our culture we push to attain these states faster than they should be reached. 2) I wish children would not have to reassure their parents of their effectiveness; i.e. smile when frustrated, clap hands when sleepy- "If my child smiles at me, this shows I am a good parent." 3) Not be ping-pong balls between parents. 4) Not be experimental subjects for toy manufactures, cereal makers, new fads or theories in child care.
Please parents, this next holiday season, don't succumb to the pressure of buying expensive, complex toys designed to be used in certain ways. They rarely give children opportunities to explore and use them in their own way. Toys designed to entertain create passive on-lookers, future T.V. addicts, rather than curious, actively learning children. Pressures from commercials are especially strong at the holiday time of year. So think. Think of the many children who are lost and bored unless entertained and who keep asking, "What shall I do now?"
And my last wish for children would be that they could communicate to their parents:
Please let me grow as I be,
And try to understand why I want to grow like me,
Not like my mother wants to me to be,
Not like my father hopes I'll be,
Or like my teacher thinks I should be,
Please understand and help me grow
Just like ME!
"We learn from infants. Infants are just as competent as they need to be at any age."
And I have a special wish for fathers too. I wish that fathers could assume a new role of fatherhood based on human relationship rather than believing that being warm and gentle is not "manly" or that a father is expected to be tough- to throw the children into the air, or blow cigarette smoke in their faces (yes, I have seen this done "playfully"). Rough-housing not only scares babies, but sometimes causes brain damage. What I'm saying is that playful pummeling is okay as long as it's not forced by the father and hard on the child. I would like fathers to not be afraid to be themselves, to know that just because they are men, being "macho" is not really expected of them. They can be tender and soothing and quiet and still be "manly."
And you know what I wish above all else? That we don't lose sight of laughter. That through all of the pain we might see and feel around us, we maintain our sense of humor. People who take life too seriously are terrible to live with! Amen!