I am not a "traditional” definition of mother. In fact, I’m not good at anything that my mom was. And believe me, at times I beat myself up for it. But at the core, I know that I’m meant to be different. I am consciously raising a global citizen.
I honestly don’t know what the parent of a global citizen is supposed to do. I still question how much of an impact I really have anyways. Yet, I know that my daughter is watching me.
Before and after Aisha was born, I had multiple miscarriages. This made her survival even more significant for me. In a sense, she was my miracle child. I believe that she was born with great power and purpose.
Why was this exceptional person born to me? Because I have the courage to lead the way for her. My goal is to understand who she is, what her gifts are, and to encourage her to share her greatness with the world around her.
Because she’s watching and analyzing, this goal requires that I do the same for myself.
Children hold the promise of a brighter future. We are separate, yet intimately connected. And it’s not that all of our unrealized dreams rest on them. It’s quite the opposite. I believe that I must live my best life in order to reinforce her freedom to live her own.
Herein lies the inner conflict between the kind of parents I had, and the kind of parent I yearn to be. It is a significant shift in perspective. At times, my style of parenting has been perceived as being selfish and irresponsible. So, I’ll have to trust my instinct.
As a woman, there are many things I do to affect positive change. I make choices that reduce my impact on the environment. I write. I’m involved in politics. I am introspective and actively growing. I take time for myself. On a daily basis, I do at least one thing that helps someone.
As a parent, I look for teaching moments everywhere. We’ll talk about how children live in other parts of the world. Or, we’ll watch a commercial and discuss what it is influencing us to buy. My daughter saves money all year long to buy a Christmas present for a child she’ll never see. She understands why we have a low flow toilet and turn the tap off when we brush our teeth. She willingly donates her toys and clothes so other kids can enjoy them. When grocery shopping, she reminds us to make a donation for the food bank. She says thank you to her caregivers daily.
My daughter’s eyes shine with brilliance. Almost six, she is fun, kind, creative, intuitive, and determined. I am inspired by her. If it is the case that this little soul chose me, I’m grateful and honoured. I will be the change that I want to come easier for her. Then I will give her the space to think and act as she was meant to.
Being a parent to a child who is empowered to make choices from a very young age has been challenging. It calls out the best in me. At times, I fall short; but in the end, I will have taught her that her thoughts and actions have greater implications than the inner circle of our daily lives. The rest is up to her.
Parenting is one of my most heart felt local acts. An act that is firmly rooted in "thinking globally”.
Marla Hunter-Bellavia is a writer and owner of Ocean Spirit Communications in Nanaimo. She welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org