The very title of this post in itself is the giveaway to the whole premise of this piece I’m about to pen for you now.
What do I want my kids to be? It’s totally the wrong question to ask.
Growing up had I have said I want to be a musician, an artist, a writer or a singer, infact anything resembling a creative outlet that bought joy to my life I’d have been told quite firmly that those dreams were for “bums and losers” and that I should pick something that was secure, where I had to go to university and get an education for and that would make me money. No where in that conversation was I ever asked what would actually make me happy?
Sure, I can appreciate just as much as the next person the importance of bringing in an income to support myself and my family. I’m doing that now, to three kids. But to say I didn’t make choices to please others growing up would be a complete lie. And I regret that.
Our job as parents is to raise our children to be happy and fullfilled, to treat others with respect and live a life where their moral compass is pointed in the right direction. Everything else is a bonus. To see our children grow into happy adults where their own self confidence carries them through life’s natural challenges is a blessing all parents can only hope for.
It’s our responsibility to raise them with confidence and provide them with the resources and support they need to chase down that happiness. The breakdown in this process happens when parents live vicariously through their children, forcing upon them experiences, choices or decisions that they themselves either didn’t have the opportunity, capacity or confidence to make themselves.
I’m well aware of the anecdote where parents just want the best for their kids. But the best is sometimes different to what we as parents want, atleast for ourselves. Parenting is one of the most challenging forms of leadership and requires an immense level of selflessness.
My three kids are all under seven, so I’ve still got alot to learn about how this is all meant to play out but one thing is for certain–their happiness is front and centre, for no other reason than than they ought to be happy in this life, doing whatever it is that they choose.
If you’re a parent, when was the last time you had a think about all of this?