Our Story Begins:
Understanding the Interest
“Do you have goals for your kids?”
That’s one of the headlines I got on a news feed today. “My” goals for my kids.
I understand that you have to have structure, form, routine, all that for your kids. You can be friends with your kids, but your are not your kids’ friend. You are their parent and when the chips are down or things go wrong it’s you that they come to for guidance. That’s not what a friend does that’s what a parent does.
Yet you have to understand that “my” goals for my kids might very well be or have been different for what their own goals are.
The better way to address that interrogative would not be “do you have goals for your kids” but instead “do you foster your kids’ goals?”
I have four kids – two girls and twin boys. Even though two of them are twins, they have as different a set of personalities as you can get. So what do you do when you realize that?
I’ll give you an example: my wife had a goal for our oldest daughter: she was to become a doctor or pharmacist or nurse or something in the medical field. My daughter, on the other hand, wanted to be in theater. My wife thought it was a hobby and should not be pursued, she should go into medicine as it’s a noble field that makes a good living. When my wife passed away my fostering of my daughter’s interests was not to push the agenda of her mother – noble as it was – it was to understand my daughter’s goal and ask what she truly wanted to do. If I’ve learned anything from the more than four years since losing my wife, it’s that life is short and you should chase the goals and ideals you have.
So my daughter described, explained, and set a path for her theater career. It makes perfect sense. It’s not a “hey, look at me I’m on stage” kind of career. She wants to be in the theater, direct, write, and act. She wants to make contacts and do what she can.
My middle daughter is an amazing guitarist and songwriter. She’s not sure if she wants to do that. She loves film and watching movies and analyzing what is going on as the movie unfolds. I sat and watched the latest Mad Max movie with her. I watched the Steve McQueen movie Bullitt with her, too.
Turns out . . . she really loves giraffes, too. Something I didn’t know until last month. Your kids, you see, can still surprise you.
One twin is on the student council. The other is learning to play guitar. The student politician is on the school news operation as well. The musician likes to make stop-frame animation videos just like Shaun the Sheep.
The point is . . . I can prod them to the direction I want them to go but the reality is if I try to force “my” goals on my children they’ll be miserable later in life or I’ll end up footing the bill for even more therapy. This time it will be from my meddling, not from grief.
So stuffed giraffes, guitars, stop-frame software and theater books are my world right now. It’s not that it’s a problem. I’m learning as much as they are.
What about you? Do you have your own goals for your kids or foster their interests?