I grew up in a Puerto Rican household during the late 70’s and 80’s. If there’s one thing true about Latino households, and it holds true to this day, it’s that there are parents, uncles, aunts, cousins and a bunch of other family members that are always coming in and out. Those relatives have traditionally had a part in raising the little ones in the family, if not directly, then indirectly.
Growing up, my brothers and sister were constantly surrounded by uncles and aunts who gave us cool gifts, took us on trips, and let us sleep over and hang out with our cousins. The sleep over at your cousin’s house is a rite of passage. I can remember many nights staying over and playing with his cool He-Man toys, watching cable t.v. with my aunt and uncle late at night (I was older), staying over my step brothers house and playing games until the sun came up. You know what else came with the fun? The life lessons that all these people gave you as you grew up into an adult. Almost everyone had that cool aunt, uncle, or cousin that they could talk to about things you didn’t feel comfortable telling your parents. I remember growing up, Saturday nights at my paternal grandmother’s house was when everyone got together to eat, drink, and play dominoes. All the adults would play dominoes while the kids would go in the room and play Nintendo, wrestle, or go in the back yard and play some game involving a ball. I want my daughter to have the same experience.
I want my daughter to experience as many things as she can from as many sources as possible. Not from an encyclopedia or a tablet or t.v., but from actual tangible sources. My best friend said that when my daughter turned 5, she was going to take her to a safari in Africa. YES PLEASE! Why not? Why look at an elephant on an iPad when you can see an elephant in person in their natural habitat? Why watch a baseball game when she can go out and play baseball? Why go to a museum exhibit and see paintings and sculptures when I can give her some Play-Doh and paint and she can create her own masterpieces? Want to see nature? Let’s go. I’ll take her hiking which is an activity I recently got into and absolutely love. She’s not even born yet and has beento Canada and France! That’s a great start if you ask me. I have people in my life that can teach and do these things with her. My sister is fantastic at crocheting. TEACH HER! My niece has a nice touch with the camera. TEACH HER! My lady is great with paint and drawing. TEACH HER! My brothers all have great skills that they can impart on my daughter. My mother in law is a fantastic cook. TEACH HER! Then again, I get busy in the kitchen too so I can do some of that myself..ahem ahem..lol. My best friend is a multi-potentialiate (fancy word for someone who has many interests) and can teach my baby girl the same things that she’s taught me and more.
I want her to be influenced by all the positives that exist in our circle. The more the better. I truly believe that this will make her a well-rounded woman who is CONFIDENT. We don’t do enough to teach girls how to be confident women today. A confident woman, a strong woman, can break down any barriers that get in her way. I want my circle, my lady’s circle, to positively influence my daughter and show her that there is no limit to what she can do. It takes a village to raise a child and I’m fully prepared to have it play an important part in raising our daughter.
Only thing I ask is that when she’s on safari with Titi Mo (Titi is aunt in Spanish), that she keeps her hands inside the jeep at all times. Thank you Titi Mo for keeping all her limbs intact!
How did you go about allowing your child to be influenced? Did you keep it in house or did you have others play a part in your child’s life?