Promises to Baby

I don’t know how I managed to read a parenting book around my sophomore year of high school, but I did. The book was called Promises to Peter, by Charlie Shedd. It had some interesting perspectives on things, but the reason I remember it a decade later (funny that I’m old enough to say that) is that the idea of making promises to your new born was intriguing and commendable to me. Here, are the original promises to Peter (the author’s son) from the book:

“First, I pledge that I will remember
always it takes a lot of love to make good children.

Next, I promise you that I will never
say “No” if I can possibly say “Yes.”

Here is my Third promise: I pledge that
I will really be with you when I am with you.

I pledge you also that I will try to
see things from a child’s point of view.

Comes now a small item, but very hard
sometimes. I promise to be a good waiter.

And here is the top promise. I will do
everything I can to put your hand in the hand of your Heavenly

The two that I have remembered since the moment I read the book is number two and the last one. Before you think the saying ‘yes’ bit is a laissez faire way of parenting, let me explain.
I think we make kids grow up too early. We kill their creativity, we force them to see the world as everyone else does, not with the new perspective they might. I believe the example he gives in the book is about a bundle of twine he had in the garage that he constantly told his kids not to touch, it was off-limits. Then one day he realize there wasn’t really a good reason he was keeping it away from his kids, and he allowed his kids to play with it. They made a gigantic spiderweb type of thing in the garage, they all marveled at it, and then they cleaned it up; freedom, creativity, exploration and more for the cost of a half bundle of twine. I think toddler’s through teenagers hear the word ‘no’ more then anything else, and I think it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m not suggesting letting your kids run the house or going back on your convictions and values because your kids ask, but rather just being more critical of your choices and words when it comes to your kids. When they ask you to play don’t make an excuse. Intentionally rearrange your house so nearly everything your toddler can reach is fair game for him to play with. And when your kids ask you to do crazy, odd, strange, outrageous and weird things in public, ditch the self-image and join them!

Maybe I’m off-base on this one, but I’m probably going to try it out anyways. I’m so eager to learn from my children. I’m ready to acknowledge that 24 years living in this society has probably warped my views of things a little bit, and an innocent child might be able to lead me back to the truth.
I’m planning on writing my own promises to our baby. Not sure what they’ll be yet, and not sure if I’ll be sharing them with everyone, but the intentionality is something I really desire. Can’t wait to see you, little one.

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