Since this is the Fall Ohigan week here on the blog, I wanted to do another Buddhist post. This one is about my little boy, whom I call “Little Guy”. He is now 11 months old, and likes to crawl around the house and explore. Unlike his sister, he’s very active and curious. Lately, he discovered one of my daughter’s baby dolls. He was curious at first, and poked the doll’s eyes, mouth, and such. But now he loves to play with it, and will crawl around the house dragging the baby with him:
The doll is kind of heavy, but he uses one arm to crawl, and the other drags the baby. 🙂
He even likes to sleep with the baby now.
My wife and I think it’s very cute. So, we decided we will buy him a doll for his 1-year birthday (coming soon) because this doll belongs to his older sister.
I know that some fathers wouldn’t want their sons to play with dolls or any girl toys because they believe their son will become too feminine. But when I see that my son is so happy, I think it’s great. I think it will help him be a good father someday too.
But more importantly, his happiness is my happiness. If my son and daughter are happy and safe, then that makes me happy. My pride as a man is irrelevant. I don’t care if other fathers think I am strange.
Oftentimes, parents project their hopes and fears on their own children (even if they are not aware they do this), but sometimes this can have negative effects on your children. Your children might feel pressured, or frustrated and then resent you later. A parent might push their kids to do sports they don’t like, then the kid will drag their feet and not want to do it. Then the parent will get angry, and the kid will resent things more.
It’s important to give children structure and discipline, but you have to have the right reason. Are you doing it for your own benefit? Are you compensating for something? Or are you doing it for the child’s welfare?
In an old podcast, the British monk Ajahn Brahm once said that you don’t own your kids. You are taking care of them temporarily, but they are separate people and will move out of the house someday and become adults. So, your obligation as a parent is to give them a safe, structured and positive home, so they can grow up in a good environment. Do not worry about your own accomplishments or your own self-image.
Just remember, you don’t own your children. But you are responsible for their happiness. 🙂
Namu shakamuni butsu
P.S. This advice is true for one’s wife also! Fathers, you can’t change or control your wife. You don’t own your wife. You can only control how you react to her. So react with more kindness. You’ll see a positive difference.
P.P.S. If you are going to get a doll for a child, the French “Corolle” dolls are great. My daughter has one she still plays with, and when we visited Paris many years ago, we bought many accessories at a children’s boutique. The quality is great, and they are durable and easy to wash. That is very useful when your daughter drops her baby in the mud. 😉