This is a question almost every one of us has asked and answered. Like most children my response varied depending on my age and circumstances. After seeing the movie “101 Dalmations” I wanted to have a huge house with hundreds of animals to care for. Growing up in Massachusetts during John F. Kennedy’s presidency had me convinced I should become a politician. And then as a result of watching John-John and Caroline almost every night on our local news riding their ponies or sailing with their family at Hyannisport, I too realized a love of horses and the ocean.
So what was your answer…what did you want to be when you grew up…a teacher, doctor, fireman, maybe even a famous movie star? Did you become what you dreamed of spending your life doing? It is very rare for a child to zero in on what they will ultimately become in adulthood, mostly because children are not aware of all of the possibilities.
However, what I have found interesting is that a great many of the highly successful and truly happy people in this world did in fact know at a very early age exactly what they wanted to be and do. Through an experience or opportunity, they were exposed to that one thing that they connected with on a very deep level. And that connection stayed with them and grew and intensified, eventually being recognized as their passion.
As we all know, the key to a blissful joyful existence is to live out our passion and fulfill our dreams. This leads me to believe that an important part of our role as a parent is to help our children discover what they are passionate about…to find what they are drawn to.
When little Johnny says, “Mom I want to be a pilot when I grow up”, perhaps a trip to the airport is in order. I don’t think I have ever been at an airport and not seen pilots and they all look very friendly. A handshake and a quick question or two could be just the thing to encourage Johnny’s dream. Or, should little Susie express an interest in helping you in the garden, a trip to the local library to research plants for different climates might spur an interest in meteorology.
The point is we never know where our children’s interests might lead…it could be a passing phase or it could be what brings them their greatest joy.
Don’t you think it is worth the time and effort to provide your child with the opportunity to investigate and explore? Imagine if Tiger Wood’s parents had ignored his desire to play golf, or if Amelia Earhart’s parents insisted she only play with dolls!
If it is possible to uncover and connect with your passion in childhood, we owe it to our children to give them the support, encouragement and opportunity to do so.
The enormous value of this is growing and being recognized by today’s parents. I recently read a book, Earn It, Learn It by Alisa Weinstein that offers parents a wonderfully fun way to combine teaching children about the value of money and exploring different careers by engaging in hands-on experiences doing everything from being a recording artist to a make-up artist. I highly recommend it!
As I look back on my childhood, I was always attracted to anything that allowed me to nurture…pets, siblings and children in general. I was the oldest of five, with 2 younger brothers and sisters so my life was automatically focused on caring for and offering guidance to children. The fact that I became a child advocate and parent coach is no accident. I am living my passion and every time I am blessed with an opportunity to help a parent or support the needs of a child, I am living my dream.
Oh and by the way, I spent the first 20 years of my adult life living in the majestic hills of Vermont raising horses and the next 20 years living in Florida where I continue to spend several weekends a month at the ocean living aboard our boat, the “Bub-A-Lyn”! Life is Good.
Remember, what we model to our children they will one day live out. Connecting with what you are passionate about and fulfilling your dreams will inspire your children to do the same.
A common unintentional mistake a lot of parents make is to lead and direct their children toward things they are interested in. Often this is done unconsciously, being totally unaware of the subtle yet powerful actions and words that impact children and ultimately rob them of their power to create a life out of their true passion.
“Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically
on their environment, and especially on their children,
than the unlived lives of the parents.”
~ Carl Jung
Seeing your child as an individual with his or her own
preferences...enabling them to explore their interests
is the single best gift you can give your children.