What will your child grow up to be?
When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.
It's inevitable to not let my mind wander about what my babies will decide to do in the future. Will they follow in daddy's boxing footsteps? Will they take after my passion for journalism? Or will they completely surprise us and choose a career path that doesn't even exist yet?
The truth is I am not as worried about what career path they will decide to conquer; as I am concerned with making sure I do a good job with them before that time comes. Guiding them to learn to trust their instinct, find their true passion, and go on to live life in a way that makes them genuinely happy while being able to make a living at the same time.
This does not mean that my now 2-year-old and my 9-month-old will be running wild doing whatever they want but we are also not raising them to believe they can't question us or have choices just because we are the parents.
Not wanting to be a permissive parent (who is too lenient and allows considerable self-regulation) or an authoritarian parent (who is very strict and controlling with the "because I said so" type of parenting style, Argenis and I are aiming to be authoritative parents with set rules for our children while being responsive to their emotional needs. Find out your parenting style here.
Success dangles in front of our eyes, the things we think we need and in the confused pursuit of success to obtain happiness, so many end up in careers that make them a lot of money but bring them no joy.
Of course I want my children to be successful but I don't want them to compromise their happiness over it and I want them to understand that money is NOT what defines success. People that are happy and successful tend to be passionate, swim against the current (like when Bill Gates went against playing it safe and dropped out of school), they keep an open mind and make health a priority. Here's more on 10 Things Successful People (Who Are Actually Happy) Do Differently.
With "much of education oriented toward making a living rather than making a life", as Dr. Roger Walsh explained it, it is extremely important to not leave your child's education to just the schools. Don't make the mistake of confusing success with happiness thinking that if you guide your child towards becoming a doctor or an attorney, they will be successful and, as a result, happy. Sorry, but if you still haven't realized this, that's not how this works.
So, yes, money is great but never at the expense of happiness. Hence why doctors and attorneys are two of the most prestige career choices but at the same time are two highly paid professions full of unhappy, depressed professionals.
In guiding your child on the right path, don't focus so much on their intellectual capacities that you overlook their actual interests. If you steer your child into becoming a doctor because they have the necessary intelligence and natural skills but they would rather be a writer, then it is very likely that kid will never be a happy (and most likely not a great) physician.
As parents, we need to learn to parent the child we have as opposed to the child we think we want or think we should have.
Whatever my children decide they want to do in the future, I want them to do it because it makes them happy. Of course I am curious about your view on on this never ending success vs. happiness debate so don't forget to share your thoughts in comments below.
'Til next time, lovelies!