Disclosure: I have received free Netflix streaming and a streaming device as part of my membership on the Netflix Stream Team. All opinions expressed within this post are my own. #StreamTeam
I think most parents will agree that they want more for their kids than they had themselves. Even when we have done well in life, we hope our children have it easier, more fully, or just plain bigger than we did.
So when my middle told me his goal in life it to (1) be a teacher, (2) teach at my university, and (3) live with me forever and ever I was both flattered and bummed. I don’t want the boys to feel they have to choose my path because it is a safe path for them. Instead, I would like them to have the opportunity to follow their own passions, no matter what they were.
My oldest seems to get this. He has his 30 year plan worked out, which starts with being a professional hockey player, includes a stint as the owner of a hockey team, and then ends with being elected the president of the United States. He’s been studying up for the job by setting a goal for himself to learn all the presidents and “facts about each one.”
The baby – well he is aiming for professional eating and a stand up routine featuring pterodactyl impressions as far as I can tell. Though he does like to jam to “Uptown Funk”, so maybe he has music in his veins?
Helping the kids find their own path in life is not always easy. Its fostering their decision making so that they understand from an early age that they can make their own choices without disappointing me. Well unless they made a career of breaking the law…then I might be disappointed. Here’s a few tips for what I do to help the boys gain independence and foster their own interests.
Avoid Futuristic Planning that Focuses on Reliving Your Past
Secretly, I am sure I would be thrilled if one of the boys became a Terp, or joined a crew team, or even became a crafter/maker. But I’ll never tell them this. I talk to them about my past – because, let’s be honest, is there any better audience for telling your tales than your own kids? I know mine love to hear stories about when I was younger or when they were babies. But, I do my best to explicitly and intentionally tell the boys what makes them unique, how they are special, and how they might choose to use those abilities later in life. Except the president thing, that’s all on him.
Help Your Kids Set Their Own Goals
I love this vision board activity for helping your children set their own goals and visions for their future. Using pins, kids can change their inspirations, helping them see that it is perfectly acceptable to adjust their dreams for their future as they see more of their world. Heck, I wanted to be a geneticist when I went to college – and I graduated as an elementary teacher!
Show Them Models of Others Who Have Bucked Tradition and Made Their Own Paths
Arnold Schwarzenegger decided he wanted in on politics. Vanilla Ice dabbles in DIY house renovations. Jax Teller questions the only “family” he has ever known (sorry, we are on a kick – streaming Sons of Anarchy here).
I’m excited to check out the new Netflix series, Richie Rich with the boys, because despite his outrageous wealth, the Richie Rich of my childhood, understands the need to balance wealth with charity and kindness. He’s his own person.