Sunday, July 11, 2010

We are taught to worry

It’s really a horrible thing. I did it myself. I remember trying to at least. Weren’t we all supposed to? We seem to have programmed ourselves to believe that if we are not currently doing something that we perhaps should or could be doing then it is our responsibility to at least worry about it.

My daughter Amanda had just turned five and few days had past since the whirlwind of her birthday party. As I walked through the family room where she sat intently playing with her new toys, a thought came to me. Actually, the thought came to me again. We needed to write the thank you notes.

Amanda could sign her name and draw a pretty picture but I would be the one writing the actual thank you notes for each of her birthday gifts. I knew it was my responsibility to get this done but as well my responsibility to have her involved in the process. My mother instilled in me the importance of  acknowledging gifts with a hand written thank you note delivered timely manner. So as each day passed the guilt grew. “We need to write the thank you notes for you birthday presents, Amanda.” I said to her as she brushed her new Barbie’s hair. “So we can stop worrying about it.”

Clear as day, I can remember her looking up at me and saying “I’m not worrying about it.” It’s true she wasn’t it and that is the exact moment that I realized that we teach our children to worry. The question still remained. Should I teach her to worry about it?

Eighteen years later, it is obvious that I did indeed instill in my daughter the value of a handwritten thank you, as she regularly and promptly writes and sends gracious notes.  But I don’t think she worries about it. I certainly hope not, but I’m not going to worry about it.

My kids - Dominic -age 4 and Amanda -age 6

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