Letter to my child
If parents were allowed to give their children advice for life, what would it be? We asked prominent mothers and fathers to write down their hopes and desires.
Confidence stirs concern
now you become mom yourself and I see how similar we are in this too. Just be pregnant and see how it goes in casual anticipation, which is not free from skepticism. I have so much to say to you and yet at least didn’t suspect anything you didn’t already know. That you can take life from the beginning, that certainty and openness are not mutually exclusive and that it is the things behind the things that produce our reality. Everything we are afraid of, you know that too, only becomes great through our fear. We should also not invite Sorge, the pale sister of fear, to our table, where another little girl will soon take her place. She will be a wonderful creature that is at your side, whose beauty you admire, whose tenderness moves you and whose future nourishes your confidence. The confidence that everything we can give turns to good in our children.
Heike-Melba Fendel, 56, artist agent and author, lives in Cologne and Berlin; the daughter (28) exclusively in Berlin.
Rather shows feelings than tattoos
I warn against alcoholic beverages where you think: Oh, it doesn’t taste like alcohol at all. I also warn against building suburban loan-financed houses, tattoos on the neck, any kind of relationship that gets their tension from them on and then again off is any kind of job that is only available in shift work. And to make a fool of herself in the long run because of money and status symbols: "In the end it can also be nice to eat Choco Crossis together and watch a little TV," says Grandma Helga, and she is almost always right. If you can do it: Go to church at intervals, which is strangely good. Just like thick friendships, being a pure buddy yourself, showing feelings, freshly squeezed juices. And let go. Unfortunately, I don’t know the exact answer either. The rest arises during the trip.
York Pihan, 45, "myself" columnist, lives with his children (6 and 1) in Berlin.
Of gut feelings, courage and strength
Dear Selma, dear Helena, dear Nicholas,
never let anyone tell you that what you feel or how you are is wrong. Not by yourself either. People are different, and that’s a good thing. It may be that you sometimes think you are different from everyone else, and occasionally suffer from it and feel lonely. But that is deceptive: everyone is special, some a little more than others and some a little more often. Learn to listen to your gut, your inner voice, not too much the voices that come from the outside and say how it should be. Maybe your path is sometimes less straight, maybe it is awkward, maybe it seems incomprehensible. It doesn’t matter. If it’s your way, it’s that way. To walk it takes courage and strength, but you have both. It will also take courage and strength for me to let you go.
Saskia Diez, 41, jewelry designer, lives with her children (12, 10 and in Munich.
With luck, it’s a little more complicated
there are sentences that sound infinitely cheesy – and yet they are so incredibly true: your birth is the most wonderful experience of my life, and it still makes me indescribably happy. Indescribable I mean literally here, because the birth of a child is a miracle that I can not describe. But what I can describe is the following: Of course, as a mother, I want you to be happy in your life. But I also hope that you will learn to recognize that striving for happiness is meaningless for its own sake.
We fail so often in the search for happiness because we believe the empty promise to find it in the satisfaction of pleasure, in the shopping frenzy, in the pursuit of money, power and success. Happiness is always only the result of something – and that of a successful, meaningful life. There is a famous parable from the Middle Ages, in which a hiker sees three men knocking stones on a large cathedral construction site. When he asks them what they are doing, the first answers: "I knock stones." The second says: "I make money." The third beamed: "I help build the house of God!" In other words: it does not work just that you are fine, but that you are good for something. Because then you will also be happy.
Tamara Dietl, 53, coach and author, lives in Munich with her daughter Serafina (14).
Everyone understands life differently
there’s a nice story from John Lennon who was asked at school what he wanted to be in life. His answer: "Happy." When his teacher rebuked him for not understanding the question, he said: "No, you didn’t understand life!" There is no better and more understandable way to describe it. Trust your intuition, listen to your heart and follow it. That is what makes you special. Each of you has a different task, a different purpose. Finding out what that is is the hardest exercise ever – but the only rewarding one.
Ulli Ehrlich, 50, chief designer Sportalm, lives with her children Felix (18), Lorenz (16), Xaver (14), Victor (13) and Mona (5) in Kitzbühel.
Sometimes says no
My dear children,
I want to watch you grow. Like a tree that has a solid trunk and unfolds its branches and leaves upwards. You should know who you are, what you can do, and at the same time you should stay curious. You should enjoy the fresh air that brings change. I want you to approach other people and not be afraid of what’s different. You should not differentiate between "We" and "Die". This is the only way you can have new experiences and sometimes hold up the mirror. And in the best case you get something back. Maybe there is a disappointment. But that’s part of it.
Never forget to be thankful for what you have, with the awareness that you have to work hard for success. Every euro counts and nothing can be taken for granted. That is why it is important to me that you learn to stand on your own two feet. And learns to say no sometimes. Unfortunately, I missed that myself earlier. If you make a mistake, stand by it. Nobody is perfect. I wish you that you dare to be authentic, that you don’t have to bend just to do justice to others. You should live the life that suits you, you should find the partner you want. Don’t please anyone except yourself!
Beatrice Rodenstock, 45, an entrepreneur, lives with her children (12 and 9) in Munich.
Discover your passions
take the time to find your own way, discover your passions, what drives you. If you trace what you really want, you can develop and make a difference. Life is not linear, it consists of zigzag paths. Just take your steps with courage and ease. Let yourself go, don’t panic at stumbling blocks. Better enjoy freedom! The future will challenge you soon enough with all the global hot spots. Do not be upset. It is important that you are convinced of what you are doing and that you can fully support it.
Antje von Dewitz, 45, Managing Director Vaude, lives with her children (18, 16, 12 and 10) in Tettnang.
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