28 August 2012

What We Pass On

I recently read The Baker's Daughter by Sarah McCoy, as part of the online book club From Left to Write. I really can't say enough excellent things about the book - I was hooked early on, and read it cover to cover one night (and stayed up way past my bedtime to do so!).

As part of our book club discussion, we don't write a review of the book (see previous post for my review) but rather a post inspired by the book.  This book is FULL of writing inspiration - so many things gave me pause, and pushed me to think further about.  In the end, I settled on the theme of what we pass on to our children, and the legacy we leave behind.

As someone who struggles with mental illness, I worry everyday that I may pass that on to my children.  Not only the actual illness itself, but the intangibles - the anxiety, the idiosyncrasies, the character flaws associated with it.  I strive to turn every one of my failures or shortcomings into a teachable moment for them, which actually helps me to pull myself off of the path I'm headed down (because when I have to explain what I'm doing, I often realize it's my illness acting out, and I can redirect myself).  What do I want them to take away from their parents, in terms of life lessons?  I think that to myself all the time - when they have to draw on their own well of experience, what sorts of things do I want to have filled that well with?  The desire to always get back up, try your hardest, and hold your head high.  And when you put it down at night, know that you tried as hard as you could.

And then there are the tangibles things I want to leave them with.  Be a good steward, take care of  the environment, animals and people.  Also - we love to cook. Good food, from scratch.  We bake bread together, eat fresh tomato sauces, experiment with new grains and vegetables, and always try new things.  There's togetherness and happy memories that are created every time we do something as simple as pop popcorn (on the stove, with oil - never in the microwave!).

For me, just taking a minute to think about what I leave my children with helps me work harder to ensure I'm actually leaving them with it.  Little eyes are always watching.  Little ears are always listening.  It is important to lead by example....and when my example isn't good, it is just as important to admit that, and try harder.

This post is inspired by Sarah McCoy's The Baker's Daughter.  In a small Texan town, Reba discovers Elsie's German Bakery and falls in love with more than the pastries.  Shes drawn to Elsie's life in Germany during the last year of WWII. Join From Left to Write on August 29 as we discuss the book.  As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

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