By Chandrama Anderson
My Son Turned 20Uploaded: Jun 24, 2016
I'm so proud of him. He's thoughtful and kind, and has a great group of longtime friends that he listens to and supports. He treats his girlfriend and her family well. He's in college and going to culinary school.
As a parent, these are all reasons to be proud. Mostly I just love him and I'm just happy he's here on this earth, adding positive energy to our world – which is tremendously needed.
I remember when he was a little boy; he wanted to pick out his own clothes (which didn't go together – but who cares?); him being filthy from a good day playing. I remember some of the exhausting days that seemed like they would never end, and of course they did.
Everyone says it goes fast, and that's true.
I had a new job when he was born. I worked at IDG books, the For Dummies series company, as their online manager. I went to see my OB/GYN after work one night and he said I still had at least a couple of weeks to go. What did he know? Nature works in its own time. My water broke at 1 AM, and 40 hours later my beautiful son was born.
Cherish your child(ren). Love them well. Teach them to treat others well, and be communicative. There's nothing more important. Let them have and learn to name their feelings. Help them understand what to do with feelings (e.g., anger lets them know a boundary has been crossed, or they're hurt or sad). Instead of acting out, teach them to talk out what happened: "When this happened, I felt _____. I wish you would _____.
These are invaluable teachings for all of us, and most people don't get taught growing up.
It's not too late to learn. Print out a list of feeling words, and start to notice yours. Start today. A great book to help with discussions is called Difficult Conversations. It’s written by the Harvard Negotiation Team.
Think about what you can do, and what your kids can do (if you have them), to make this a better world. Are you waiting for someone else to do it? Maybe they're waiting for you . . .
A good starting place: Be kind. Say thank you. Let a driver in. Spend couple time with your partner. Spend individual time with your child(ren).
I know my son is worried about this world. There is something you each can do, based on who you are: your strengths and passions. Consider adopting a child.
While I was at Camp Kesem, I saw so many Stanford students with a passion to make this a better world. We need young people's energy and vision. So do anything you can to support them.