What 3 lessons do you want your kids to learn from you?
Anyone who has kids, we always have seriously high expectations for them. A lot of us want more or better than what we had. Not that this is terrible by any stretch but let me tell you as life experiences happen those expectations change and morph. They change because as you get to know your children and their specific personalities you realize they will have their own path regardless of how you are trying to steer them. And believe me, that is exactly what you are trying to do “Steer” them. As you are aware steering is the best visual I can give you, because kids do not come with an instruction manual. But we all try, to the best of our abilities and life experiences up to that moment to help them become the best people they can be.
What I learned is, we start out with expectations of our kids being a great leader like becoming the President, Politician, Lawyer or Doctor. Someone that others will follow and look up to. Think about when you go house hunting or apartment shopping, you want the best bang for you buck, right? You have all these visions of grandeur, Big Fancy House or apartment. Then you realize well maybe I don’t need some of the amenities I had on my list. You have the same realization with your kids. I personally think, as time has taught me, everyone has their own path to follow and no matter how much you wish otherwise it is THEIR path not yours.
So with this challenge, I asked my kids what 3 lessons they learned from me? One of the things mentioned was I “often” (and still do!) use the phrase “Improvise, Overcome and Adapt”. Let me explain, because of my personal life experiences and a huge lack of self-confidence, I learned much later that everyone has options. I really didn’t understand that I had options in life. I went to a guidance counselor once when I was in high school and said that I wanted to be a nurse; I was told “your grades suck, find something else” and was sent on my way. I was crushed and it took me a long time to get past that, but what I realized was you really have to want something and are willing to do the work to get it done. I come from some of the hardest working people I know. So, this is where I learned I had to follow the road in front of me to see where it led.
So in life you need to learn how to “Improvise” and be fluid or go with the flow because you never know where the road is going to lead you. Just because you are heading toward a place or goal doesn’t mean that in 10 years that is where you will end up.
You need to “Overcome” adversity or disappointment because it is those experiences that can shape the outcome of where you are supposed to go. Kind of like bumper cars at the carnival, you see where you want to go but you get blindsided and it shoves you off your path. But that doesn’t mean you won’t reach that goal, its just that you are meant to take a little detour. I certainly think “things happen for a reason” that usually becomes clearer much later.
Finally, “Adapt” to your surroundings and situations because you just never know who or what you are meant to meet or experience. To experience life in a fluid manner or to be open will enrich your life beyond expectations. When you get older or as you get older you will look back and seriously realize just how full you life has been. It is my dream that you will be able to share your wisdom about your experiences as I have tried to do. Life is not easy and they leave scars that hurt but know that you can not be the person you have become without those scars and experiences. Everyone has their own fire to walk through.
I have lived my whole life for my kids, made lots of mistakes (thank you hindsight) but I could not be prouder of who my kids are. Not only are they awesome people but they have become upstanding citizens in our world. Truthfully, that is really all you can hope for. To have children that are successful and great citizens who aren’t a drain on society and who you know can help lead this world on to a better place is beyond my wildest dreams for them.