Published on
March 4, 2015

A major component of raising children comes with the initial perspective upon conception. How do you view your children? If they are someone to be molded or shaped, then most likely you'll spend much of your time correcting behavior, pointing out what they are doing wrong, or making decisions based on what you believe is best for them. This is somewhat of the "You are my child and you do what I say" mentality; though it doesn't have to be as strong. If they were a mistake - or unexpected - then most of your time might be a frustrating example of how to get your two lives (before the child/after the child) to align, or playing catchup. That's not to take away from the mistakes that have become major blessings to countless parents out there. However, for me, the view of the child has to be that of a gift. From the conception onward, this is a human being, created by God for a purpose. Sure, it's my job to guide them, and maybe even teach them the ways of the world.

More importantly - it's my privilege to witness them discover who they are.

This probably puts me as more of a passive parent than an active one. One as the observer as opposed to the caretaker. Though I'm sure my future wife will have a few choice words to say about my role, I'll try and ease the concern by admitting now - yes - I do plan on lifting a finger and being responsible during my tenure as parent. Although most likely I'll want to sit back and see what happens. You see, for me, the beauty of watching someone grow is learning what they are passionate about, taking notice of how they react to situations, and cultivating the curiosity that comes so naturally.

I want to react with that same curiosity with my child. If this is a full fledged human being, with desires and dreams and characteristics already weaved in - meticulously crafted - just waiting to be revealed as they become older - then how else could I react than to remark, "Oh, so that's who you are." when those things come out?

They decide to take apart their toy train to see how it works.
Oh, so that's who you are.
They throw a tantrum because they weren't allowed to play videogames before homework.
Oh, so that's who you are.
They eat a flower because they thought it looked pretty and now I have to drive them to an emergency room cause they're having an allergic reaction and I don't know how to describe the plant to the doctor because I wasn't paying attention and in the end it turns out to be nothing but a stomach ache but I'm still stuck with the bill anyway because 4 years olds don't have an income.
Oh, so that's who you are.

Ok obviously I don't know what it's like to raise a kid yet, so that last one is a little farfetched. However the point remains the same: children are tiny human beings that deserve my curiosity much more than my correction. Perhaps this thought process comes from not having grown up with a father; after all, that's always a good excuse. But I wonder how much this phrase might affect people, and not just children, if used more often.

Imagine if this was said to you today.

You plan an elaborate date for the person you love that is creative, simple, and yet romantic.
Oh, so that's who you are.

You paint an abstract piece on a canvas because you felt like you had no choice but to get it out of you.
Oh, so that's who you are.

You drop everything to live in a van and travel the states for an entire year.
Oh, so that's who you are.

You drink at the bar, delete your facebook, and break your hand on a wall just because some girl told you "I can't do this anymore."
Oh, so that's who you are.

I'm not exactly sure which of these apply to you, or if you can relate to any of them at all. Honestly I'm sure those are the worst examples I could have chosen, but hopefully you're seeing the same picture I am. A lot of times, if I were given the phrase, I would see it as a chance to challenge myself. "Yeah? No? Is that who I am?"

The idea is, sometimes, that is me, and I'm not too afraid to admit it. And the reality is, sometimes, it isn't me, or at least it's not the person I want to be. Imagine what it would be like to come to these conclusions. To constantly challenge the understanding of who you are. Wouldn't that be something? I wonder if this had been presented to me during childhood, how might I have been affected as a result?

Mattias is an actor, writer, filmmaker, and editor currently living in Los Angeles, CA. He often writes about his observations about life, the human condition, spirituality, and relationships. He also enjoys writing about movies, pop culture, formula one, and current events. Often these writings are 'initial thoughts' and un-edited, as authentic as possible, and should be considered opinions. If you're interested in commenting on his work, or continuing the conversation, you should consider following him on Twitter or share an article on social media, where he would love to engage even further. Consider subscribing via RSS for more.