Friday, September 5, 2014

Coffee is Just a Beverage -- Raising Open-Minded Children

Since having children, I have learned a great many things. I’ve talked about a few of them here as I have tried to make sense of myfailures as a parent, my moments of complete exasperation, and the times when nothing seems to make sense.

But there is one thing I feel I might be doing right.

I don’t want to sit here and toot my own horn. Mostly, I write this for myself so that I can put my thoughts down and keep examining things in order to choose a path I feel is best for me and for my kids, and I sort of just hope that someone else out there finds some of my thoughts useful too.

And I could be totally wrong. 

But that’s kind of the beauty of parenting, I suppose – screw it all up one day, start over the next.

So… I mentioned coffee.

Growing up, I was convinced that coffee was “bad.” Bad to drink, bad to taste, bad to smell, bad for your body, bad to enjoy, bad to think about enjoying – just bad. And drinking coffee, well, that made someone a bad person.

What I didn’t realize was that a lot of people drink coffee. And – newsflash – they are not all bad.

And, guess what? Come to find out, coffee itself isn’t “bad”either, unless you want to drink excessive amounts of it – but then, an excessive amount of anything isn't usually good for you, even broccoli.

But my paradigm for so long was “coffee is bad, therefore coffee drinkers are bad.” I would stare at people in restaurants because they let the waitress pour coffee into their cups and in my heart I was just embarrassed for them. And my friends who tested out cappuccinos and mocha ice cream and even (for a very na├»ve year or two of my life) my friends who put coffee creamers in their hot chocolate? HOLY COW they were off the rails.

Judgy judgy judgment.

But as things tend to happen, I grew up. I found out that everyone in this world has more worth than I had given them credit for. My ideas shifted. I now value the ability we all have to collect new knowledge and make decisions based on our discoveries. I find a tremendous amount of peace in being able to decide what’s right for me through my own study of the world.

And that’s why I don’t tell my kids that coffee is bad.

And I don’t let them find fault with people who drink it.

And I don’t tell them not to drink it.

I give them the facts, the ideas, the beliefs, and I will show them the way I have found to be best… but they get to choose.

And I find them to be far more accepting, empathetic, and non-judgmental little people than I have ever been.

And when they see someone’s coffee cup filled in a restaurant, they don’t stare. They don’t think that person is bad. They don’t feel sorry that that person is ruining their life by drinking the coffee.

Because coffee is just a beverage.