When Our Children Get To Choose Their Own Path In Life
What would you do if your daughter or son, who you dreamed to be a doctor, teacher or engineer, would say that he or she would wants to be a painter? Of course, you may first think that being a painter would mean a fierce fight for financial survival. Then maybe you would try to convince your child to give up on this dream. Maybe in your mind you may think you will help him/her, but would this be fair to him/her?
In the article “Parents vs. Children: When Teenagers Become Adults!” we`ve insisted upon the parents granting full freedom to teenagers. If there we insist on the reasons for which we have to give them the right to decide, now we`ll discuss about the practical consequences of deprivation of this right and how you can, as a parent, close your eyes when you aren`t convinced he made the right choice.
Table of Contents
Why Do Parents Feel the Need to Intervene in their Children`s Choices?
You already know that you have a capable and mature child, who is more than likely to do well in life. After all, you are the one who offered the best possible education, who sacrificed for his sake and who tried to make things easier for him. Now stop for one moment: don`t you think that this is strictly your subjective opinion? How can you be so sure that you, an imperfect human being by nature, know which are the best choices for your child`s future? – More info!
A problem frequently discussed in circles about family is the one that parents want to live their brokenness through their children. Raised since the peak of psychoanalysis and present even in religious books, this idea is so well entrenched in the human mind that is impossible to recognize it in our own actions as a parent, although it`s present in most of them. In fact, we wouldn`t know from what to protect our child, unless we would have gone through a similar experience ourselves or if we would have seen to others.
Maybe the job you now have is colorless, tedious and not very satisfactory from a financial point of view. Perhaps you saw how some doctors were enriched in their profession. Or maybe you lived in a time when the engineer and teacher were situated at the top from the social point of view. Maybe you even wanted to become one of those people, but your parents wanted to follow a path you didn`t really liked and you gave in to their pressure. These cases aren`t so rare, especially if we are talking about our parents who were used to be very strict with their children due to an authoritarian regime in which they were raised. In fact, this mentality is perfectly normal – why would you want your children to struggle when they could make better choices for their finances.
Unfortunately, such a mentality is over. Social roles, the market always in a constant competition, through its actions, force young people to distance from each other and becoming “good” and “less good” in certain areas. All these create a huge gap between generations and, rarely, can be overcome by parents. – Read this!
Another effect of our parents is lack of courage to try new things, to take chances, to focus all the energy towards a goal that hasn`t been touched by anyway. Why try to become a painter when we all know that most painters struggle from the financial point of view? There few those parents who will think that through their talent, their child may get great results in a profession to which they have no affinity and, maybe, a future Van Gogh.
“Mediocrity,” A Manifestation of the Will of Others
Mediocrity means an entire society governed by mediocre people. George Carlin used the term to describe what happens today when, from the desire of being equal, regardless of ability, everyone is guided to choose ways of life in which they have no talent. – Read more!
The new education system promotes equality between the one who is able and the one who is less able, introducing mediocrity through the vast and comprehensive programs. For example, a child with an extraordinary talent for painting will be required to study and compete with the very best at math. Also, the one who is good at math will have to compete with the one talented at painting. Optional courses, from which many jobs can be born, like painting, psychology, philosophy, logic and chemistry, have a smaller weight than math. Of course, math is very important, but how many of us used a derivative after finishing the university? And if, hypothetically, a child would have talent in creating green campaigns, how would he or his parents know that this is his calling.
So, this is how our destiny is governed from the wishes of others even from when we were children. The obsession of our parents for well known high schools, for successful paths already tried by others, have led to a state of mediocrity in some fields that can hardly be restored to a normal level. Most high schools and universities turn people today in “unemployed people” tomorrow, victims of a system and of a collective mentality of “maybe it`s better to go to the same university as Mike, so you`ll also have what he has.” – Check this!
However, relatively far from my subjective opinion on this subject, there`s a way out of this situation, namely their own discretion and instinct. Perhaps without realizing, a child already known to what he`s good at. No matter if it`s design, dance, organic chemistry, his natural curiosity will draw him like a magnet for the field in which he`ll excel. Of course, the problem occurs when parents don`t understand this.
“Do You Allow Me to Live?”
Paternity is often confused with authority. In the same article “Parents vs. Children: When Teenagers Become Adults!” we outlined a beautiful poem The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, that said “Your children are not your children.” Of course, it`s very hard as a parent, especially after a few years spend in this “job,” to give up to your own way of thinking and to protected your child. Even hard it`s to realize your child has his own desires, different than yours, sometimes even at opposite poles. Still, you know for sure that you want what`s best for him, and this also means the fulfillment of his desires, not yours.
Maybe at first it will be very difficult to discover that he has his own needs, to learn to recognize them and let him accomplish them. Maybe sometimes you`ll think that your wishes will create him a life full of burdens. However, you need to understand that only through his own experiences, he`ll learn that a failure to comply with his own wishes will create him a deep state of unhappiness. What did you want to become when you were little?
Of course if necessary, any parent will say that he`ll allow his child all the freedom he needs, but it`s this really true in your case? Statistics show a very high tendency for parents to govern this false freedom, to delay the child`s separation from then. The hidden motto of education received from parents, sometimes even without them being aware, is obtaining an obedient person, playing by the social rules and directed by parents. Discipline is often confused with a limitation of the child`s freedom.
Thus, the first step toward giving your child the freedom he needs is by accepting that he has his own emotions and he needs to express them. There`s a big difference between “You shouldn`t become a painter/spend time with those people/love the person” and “I understand what you are feeling and I`m here to support you in case you need anything.” There`s no richer and comforting message for a child than the fact that is understood and supported in life. Therefore, let your child learn the difference between autonomy and anarchy on his own, because just as when planting a flower we should allow it to first emerge from the ground to flourish, so our child needs to follow his own path for a harmonious and natural development.