“Everybody is identical in their secret unspoken belief that way deep down they are different from everyone else.” ― David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
What are we teaching our kids?
To pass a slew of exams so that they can become just like us?
To come alive to their full potential?
Or to see the world not as theirs to do with as they wish, but to look after and leave it in a better condition than what they inherited?
One thing’s for sure, the next generation will have to accept a lot less. Understandably, they’ll question this in the face of our wanton destruction of the planet, driven by our greedy, materialistic ways, but it’s a message we shouldn’t be afraid to deliver even if, or more especially if, our kids question our credentials when we don’t walk our talk.
You may not see it this way. My parents didn’t. They thought that their role was to help me create a better version of their lives, even though I questioned so much of it — I was an annoying little sh*t.
For me, raising three children has been replete with challenges, not least how to moderate their expectations. If I’m being brutally honest, I failed. Like so many parents, I didn’t want to see them go without even though this was a tempered with a sense of responsibility apropos the money and the effect of our/their lifestyle on the world.
But one thing I can be confident of, whatever my legacy, is that I’ve never told my kids what to do with their lives; I’ve been utterly consistent in saying that the only thing they need do is the one thing that speaks loudest to their heart. I’ve not couched that in superlative exam results, careers or trying to be something. All I’ve wanted, as much as I’ve any influence or say, is for them to be 100% themselves.
I realise that that message sits slightly awkwardly alongside a more responsible view of the world, but I’ve always been very clear that we can’t keep living this way without serious consequences to the world. They get that probably better than me.
I suspect though my kids and theirs won’t need my generation to tell them what to do to make the best of the extant situation. They’re more than capable of working that out for themselves.
If you’d like to know more about my work and how I can help, please feel free to check out the archive and my services page. At the moment, I’m able to take on a few more coaching clients, and if you’re interested all you need do is email me or telephone using the details on my contact page.