My daughter's year to grow
This is the year my daughter learns to think about other people first. The year she learns that the world is bigger than her room. The year I guide her into young adulthood with a foundation of kindness, respect and generosity.
Every year since she was born in 2000, I have worked to instill in her the values my husband and I share, the default kindness and concern I hold for all people, the ability to think beyond herself and give selflessly. She is 8 now and the lessons feel unlearned. Not that she isn't kind, polite and well-mannered. She is, I dare say.
But she is not naturally thoughtful, or giving or concerned for those beyond her reach. And I fear that the longer she goes without absorbing these traits, the more chance I have of losing her.
On New Year's Eve, I told her 2009 is her year. That together she and I will strive for greater good. Together she and I will build her future. That each day, each week, each month we will chart our progress.
So far the steps are small: table manners, sharing with her younger sister, taking care of chores without being told. It's going to be a long process, one I'm totally committed to.
Next up: Finding a volunteer opportunity she and I can explore together. I volunteered a lot before I was married, but haven't since. I want to get back to that gift and bring her along for the ride.
With devotion and hard work, I just know we'll make it.
-- Amy Hollyfield