Sunday, March 18, 2012

Questions With No Answers

Wasn't quite certain what to do with this one. Our lives are filled with questions. There are the questions of recrimination. There are the questions of why mine. There are the questions of what now. There are the questions of what will the future bring. You know, the most interesting part of all of these questions is that there are simply no answers, or rather no simple answers.

I won't even attempt to try to answer them. For each indiviudal must find the answers for themselves. Each parent must find the answers for what works for their child. Each person must decide what is and is not important to them.

But I will tell you the way to figure out the answers...LEARN. Keep an open mind. Read and discover what others have to say and what has worked and not worked. Then decide for yourself. But as you explore REMEMBER, that it is not your life and your future you play with, it is your child's. It is their future and their world that you are helping to build. You need to find what makes them happy. You need to find whats gives them joy. You need to find a way for them to harness the best of themselves.

An interesting anecdote about childhood: Only children are expected to be perfect at everything and every subject. Only children are expected to get As in every academic. Only children are expected to play an instrument like a professional or run like an Olympic champion. As we grow into adulthood we learn what we are good at and where our talents lie. We are told to harness that talent and when we do, we become successful and respected. Why should it not be the same with children? Your talents don't suddenly appear once you reach the age of majority. If you have a talent it is apparent from birth. If you have a strength it is apparent from birth. Why expect something from a child that you do not expect from those full grown? Not everyone can do everything and not everyone can excel at everything.

When society asks more of a small child then they do of their adult members, you have an inversion that is unsustainable. Perhaps that is why we have so many unhappy children in our world. Perhaps that is why eating disorders are rampant. Perhaps that is why suicide seems like the answer for some. When a society asks more from their children then they do from those who are the icons and heroes is it not a wonder that society has no roadmap for the future, no idea where it is going and what it hopes to accomplish? Is it not a wonder that society has no way to harness its citizens greatest gifts?

It actually used to not be that way. This is a construct of our modern society and our modern society alone. Throughout most of human history talents were allowed to flourish and those talents were harnessed early on. Gifts were celebrated. Gifts were sought after. Gifts were what defined a person. In today's world we are defined by our deficits. What we cannot do. The report card and the letter grade and the number grade tells the entire tale. We may celebrate the As on our child's report card, but staring at all of us in plain view are also the Cs and the Ds. There are the deficits for everyone to see. Yes some of us persevere beyond the deficits. But some of us do not. Remember to not let the deficits define your child. Remember to keep an even balance and an even perspective on what is truly important.

So while you go asking questions that probably has no real answers, remember that there are answers that don't need any questions. While we help our children navigate the world as it is, it is important to also remember that: the answer for the future is to ensure our children's happiness; the answer for the future is to teach our children to harness their gifts; the answer for our children is to let them be who they are meant to be, not who we think they should be.

OK, now for the hard part, figuring out the questions that do need answers....but isn't that what parenting is all about?

Until next time,