When you close your eyes and envision who your children will be when they grow up, what do you see? I love that the Jockey #ShowEm campaign celebrates the values that make up who we truly are, beneath the surface.
As parents, we’re tasked with guiding our children on their journeys to becoming men and women, and a hugely important part of that guidance is imparting values such as love, courage, perseverance, and family. So when Jockey asked me to create my own #ShowEm captioned photo, I knew that my value would be “Family Is Everything.”
Child development experts will tell you this question should be at the core of all your parenting decisions.
Who do you want your child to be when they grow up, and what do you need to do to get them there?
I want my children to be giving and compassionate. I want them to naturally gravitate towards helping those with less – less money, less love, less family…. I can’t imagine a better way to teach them that than continuing to foster as they grow up.
People considering foster care often ask how the decision will impact their “own” children. Understandably, they’re typically concerned about any situation that may pose a threat to their biological children. Frequently, would-be foster parents also worry about any sacrifices their children may be required to make – from quality time with parents, to fewer resources for activities, to sharing a bedroom or bathroom.
SuperDad has expressed similar concerns. He worries that continuing to foster isn’t fair to our young boys or that they must sacrifice too much. I believe that raising them to think about others is of far greater value than having time for one more extracurricular activity, but I’m not sure SuperDad could fully understand before Snowflake came to stay with us earlier this year.
The day Snowflake came to stay with us, she woke up as an only child, secure in the devotion of her mom and dad. She woke up the next morning in the middle of a traveling three-ring circus.
The boys, on the other hand, had gone to bed a trio, secure in their family, belongings, and their positions firmly in the center of the known universe. They woke up to a new little sister who was tired, scared, and clinging to their parents.
Before everyone woke up, SuperDad and I strategized how to explain Snowflake’s presence to the boys and ease the transition for them, while making sure that she felt safe and loved and secure. We needn’t have bothered with the frantic strategy session.
Squish, always the most eager to take on the day, walked into the living room, took one look at Snowflake and one look at me, and without some much as a by-your-leave, wrapped Snowflake in a gentle bear hug and asked, “Are you going to stay with us for a while? Would you like to sit in my chair and hold my school bus?”
When Squirm wandered in a few minutes later, rubbing his eyes, Squish led Snowflake over to him and introduced his brother. Squirm was the first to ask her name, followed immediately by, “Do you want cereal and milk? Mommy, will you get Snowflake some cereal and milk?”
Now, SuperDad and I knew we had some pretty awesome kids, but Squish and Squirm were not quite 4-years old at the time. And they responded to our surprise addition more gracefully than most adults would have. But what about Lil Bit? He was just over 2, and really, truly, seriously spoiled. He’s also the LEAST friendly in the morning, so we were a little more worried about his reaction.
When he walked into the living room to see his brothers calming eating breakfast next to a little girl with a tear-stained face he stopped and stared for a minute – at her, at his brothers, at SuperDad and I.
And then, just as if it was a normal everyday occurrence, he walked right up to Snowflake, sat down next to her and shared his favorite blanket before asking if he could have “some milk please?”
That was the day SuperDad and I realized we’re no longer foster parents. Now we’re a foster FAMILY.
Whatever you see when you imagine a family, it probably doesn’t look like mine. I’ll be honest, my family doesn’t look like what I pictured when I was younger – it’s extraordinarily more beautiful than anything I ever dreamed.
Jockey understands the importance of confidently and unapologetically expressing who you really are inside. I encourage you to visit the ShowEm Meme Generator and create your own meme to #ShowEm what family means to you. Then share your own stories of family in the comments—I would love to see them!