He believes in me. That’s a humbling thing and an empowering one all at the same time. He believes that I am a good person and that makes me try harder, to make sure I never let him down and am never less than the person he sees. Sooner or later, our parents stop being infallible heroes, but right now I’ve still got something close to that, and I want to make it last because it is such a beautifully, precious gift of trust to be given.
Children are predisposed to trust. They think well of us adults. I remember being young enough to believe that adults knew and understood everything. It was a bit of a shock finding it not so. I’ve been careful, as a parent to flag up the limits of my knowledge and ability. I never wanted him to think I was something I’m not. Yet despite my many shortcomings, weaknesses and failings, he still thinks well of me.
I look at him daily with a mix of awe and wonder. Old beyond his years, helpful, sensitive, insightful, kind and patient, he’s a far better and more emotionally mature person than a fair few adults I’ve met. My son inspires me to want to be so much more than I am.
I don’t know many children that well, but they all come into this world wide eyed and hopeful, wanting to believe the best of us. We have a choice. We can show them how important it is to learn how to be wary, cynical and cautious, or we can try and be the people they think we already are.