Teaching Our Children about the Good LifePosted: February 22, 2013
I had dinner with a friend recently and she told me her young son shared with her that he wanted to be a teacher. She then said, “I sat him right down and told him how little money they make. He needs to know that. He needs money. I told him he should consider picking another profession and he could teach later on in his career.” Now before we judge my friend, let’s look at what is really going on here.
My friend is a kind and appreciative person who highly respects the profession of teaching, so why would she tell her son that? She told him that because she was afraid. She was afraid of uncertainty. She was afraid that he would be poor and unhappy if he did not make a good monetary living. She loves her son and wanted more of a guarantee of his success and happiness. So if she bet on a career that made more money she believed he would have more certainty of having a good life.
How often do we all do this to our children? Maybe we push our sons or daughters to do sports when they would rather do art? Maybe we force them on a traveling soccer team when they would rather play with their friends? Maybe we fill up their schedule every second of the day so they have more chances of achievement at something? I am not judging this, but I think we need to look at why we do it. Are we looking for a guarantee? A good bet that they will be successful and happy in life?
But we know there are no guarantees in life. And if we don’t let our children find their bliss and their passions how they be happy as adults? What will they achieve if their creativity is stifled and they are forced to walk a straight line or to the beat of someone else’s drum?
I told my friend that my cousin just married a teacher and this teacher is one of the most content people I have ever met. He loves his job and is making a difference in the world by expanding children’s minds. I also have a client that was a teacher and now owns a multi-million dollar tutoring company. And I told her of another teacher who runs a not-for-profit that raises money to buy items for students in classrooms at impoverished schools. I told her that the three of them all seem happy and successful to me.
My friend smiled at me and said, “You know, you are right. I love him so much that I just want to protect him and make sure his life will be good.” I said, “I know. The best way to do that is teach him to be open to all the possibilities of life and not let fear guide him. Life is uncertain but it is within that uncertainty where his future lies with all its glorious opportunities”
My friend turned to me and said “Maybe letting our children explore their passions without trying to push them in the ‘right’ direction could be the start for their lives to be filled with satisfaction, joy and success.”
I responded, “Maybe!”