Be careful what you tell your children (column) by Chloe Allyn
Be careful what you tell your daughter. Take care with the words you lend to her ear.
Imagine your voice as the thunder on a summer evening, moments before she leaves to see her friends. Your diction is either lightning, striking down on her youth, or the familiar rumble of summer cloud cover. Your parting words will come as a rainstorm or a blanket of deep blue-gray warmth against the breeze of nighttime.
Be careful what you tell your daughter. At the dinner table, she should open up to you, her stories should bubble up and out to glide softly into your heart. Listen, empathize, empower. Do not spell “why did you let him do that?” in her alphabet soup when it’s not her motives that must be questioned.
Be sure your hands conjure a force, a tornado raised from the ashes of sacrificed women before her. Instill within her the majesty of a queen, who loves her kingdom, will sacrifice for her kingdom and will lay down her pride for her kingdom.
To teach your daughter how to walk down the street and turn every head in awe is the goal. You must build her up, not break her down with the stigmas that she is but an instrument of beauty.
Your daughter is not just beautiful. She is bold, she is human, she is graceful, she is intelligent and she is the unforgettable whirlwind of charm that leaves behind strands of hair like tokens for all who will praise her.
Do not teach your daughter that she’s capable of anything less than the distance to the moon. Your daughter is not a mother; do not treat her as one. Tell her every day that until she dies that she still has time. Tell her that until her parting breath. She has the same amount of potential in her pen, in her ballet slipper, in her tennis shoe or in her theories as the universe has energy.
Never limit your daughter to merely a role in the kitchen, a role as a victim or a role as a supporting part. Your daughter is the hero, your daughter is the antagonist, and your daughter is the author.
Be careful what you tell your son. Do not replace his tears with daggers. Do not teach him the flaws of the past. His gender and skin color do not define his power.
Remind your son that he’s made of atoms that once composed the silken petals of roses. That the definition in his biceps is for raising people up, not striking them down. Be cautious that you are not the third Little Pig; do not build your son with stone.
Never justify your son’s mistakes with “boys will be boys” because boys will be foolish, boys will be heart broken, boys will be warriors, boys will be nurses, but boys will never just be boys.
Do not teach your son to be a puzzle piece, that he belongs somewhere. Teach your son to be a beacon. Teach your son to be a leader, to be an individual.
Encourage him to watch scary movies. Encourage him to be afraid. Encourage him to be bold enough to check under his bed for monsters. Teach him that fear isn’t meant to be hidden, teach him that fear is meant to be faced, and at no time does shame marry the feeling of terror.
Teach your son that he is every color of the sunset; he is the pink blush of gentility, he is the rich gold of success and he is the vivid orange of creativity.
Be careful what you tell your son. Tell him that he has every right to be a man and a stay-at-home father, a choreographer or a fashion designer. Your son was not born to be just A Man.
He was born to be himself.
Be careful what you tell the heir to your throne. Be kind and thoughtful in the messages you convey to the flowers you grow. Do not define the limits they will reach. Do not confine the limits they will reach. Do not intervene with heights they will reach.
Be careful what you tell your daughter, be careful what you tell your son, and be careful that you don’t limit their access or love of this kingdom under the sun.
There are no words, except one: Yes.