Today we went on a walk as a family. Elena, as she often does, started singing an improvised song. She said it was entitled, "I Love Mom." Great title, I though.
Here is a bit of what the lyrics were like, translated to English: "I love my mom, I love to kiss my mom's hand, I love it when mom smiles at me, I love my mom." Brilliant. Move over, Babyface. She went on, "I love my dad, too. I love him and I love mom. I love LeiLei. And I love me. I love me a lot. I love me and mom loves me."
You get the picture.
Walking along, on this gorgeous spring day, listening to my daughter sing this song, it made me realize that there is no greater thing I could teach my kids. Sure, you want them to be civil and not pick their nose in public (especially not in front of the congregation at church when she's standing in front, singing a song). But what is more important than for a kid to learn to love themselves?
I'm a fan of Ayn Rand's school of thought, that everything we do is for selfish reasons. We do things, ultimately, for our own good. There is no better, more selfish thing than learning to love who you are. There is also no better, more selfless thing than learning to love who you are. You will become a contributing member of society if you believe you can, you'll be able to help others if you love yourself enough to love others, and, most importantly, you will be able to make peace with your God - whomever that might be - if you love yourself enough to know you deserve it.
Seeing Elena take a small, musical step in that direction made me very happy, indeed. Maybe I can learn a thing or two from my 4 year old.