Thursday, May 15, 2008

Things I Want to Teach My Daughter

Since my daughter is only 6, it's hard to guess what she might choose to do with her life once she moves away from home. Currently, she'd like to be a football player. I hope she intends to be a kicker, because she's tiny and probably always will be. She also would like to be a horse rider, which sounds like the more realistic of her career ideas, oddly enough.

I hope that my daughter grows up feeling like she can do anything. All paths are open to her. At the same time, I want her to find joy in simple things. Baking bread. Making a quilt. Arranging a vase of flowers from the garden. Growing veggies. I want her to embrace everything the modern world, and modern feminism, has to offer, but not forget the little things her grandmother and great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother took pride in.

She already helps me in the kitchen sometimes. But this year, I'm stepping up the effort. This summer, she's going to learn how to make cookies and bread. I'm going to teach her how to sew, too, and hopefully by fall she will be working on her first small quilt. She already helps choose garden plants, but this summer she will pull weeds and water, too. Though it will probably be painful for both of us, I also intend to start teaching her how to make a housekeeping schedule. And stick with it. Which means I will have to stick with mine. Yikes.

My mother did all of those things, and did them well. I think, though, that sometimes we expect that our children will just learn how to do all of that stuff just by watching us. Do most parents have some sort of formal teaching schedule for how to keep the house somewhat clean and get dinner on the table at a reasonable hour and tend the garden and bake delicious cakes and balance all of the other commitments we end up with? My mother did teach me how to sew. And how to bake some of the things she always made. The rest... I've sort of picked up on my own. Or have called my mom in a panic for instruction when I needed it.

So, my goal is to actually take the time to truly teach those things to my daughter. The traditional stuff. The basics. Woman's work (ha ha ha). If I ever have a son, he'll probably be forced to learn it too. This mom will certainly not be doing laundry and grocery shopping for an adult son. Heh. Hopefully, by the time my daughter is old enough to fly the coop, she'll be ready to take on her chosen career, but also to manage her home and enjoy some of the "old-fashioned" hobbies that have almost become lost arts. Maybe she'll even be able to prevent dishes from piling up in the sink, unlike her mother.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Thank you for reminding me that some things aren't just learned, they need to be taught. I think my oldest daughter and I will also work on a small quilt project. I know she would love that.