What I want YOU to be when you grow up
Remember growing up and thinking of what you wanted to be? I can remember reading Garfield and Beano annuals, drawing on chip paper and dreaming of being a cartoonist. My parents, on the other hand, had different ideas. Not having had the privilege of attending school as children and having had to work at an age when most kids are still learning how to ride a bike, they wanted their children to be educated and pursue a professional career. There was no ill intent with this, they were merely hoping that this way of life would provide a good foundation for the future to avoid what they had to do; working day and night, seven days a week, to make ends meet.
Having become a parent myself, I don’t mind so much what my kids do as a career. However, I do feel strongly about some things that I do want them to be and I would encourage them to pursue these with as much strength and ambition as their individual characters allow. Here they are.
Stupidly obvious, right? I know, but it's easier said than done. Think of all the people you know who are truly and unreservedly happy. Suddenly, it doesn’t sound so stupidly obvious anymore. Every right thinking parent would want their kids to be happy, but what I mean is that they enjoy life in the moment for what it is. Before or after they grow up, it would be good for them to just cherish the simple as well as the luxurious, take pleasure in the things they would otherwise take for granted and find joy when sometimes it's easy to get bogged down with what life throws at you. Maybe we should try and do the same.
2. Striving for greatness
It links in with taking care and pride in anything they do whether trivial or important. Whether they end up as a cleaner or an astronaut, I'd like them to strive to do it to the best of their ability and appreciate others for doing the same. It's not about being the best and comparing themselves against others, but to do the best they can do when comparing against their own ability. In my eyes, they are great already, so they can only exceed expectations.
With all things, it's about moderation. So, I just mean that it would be great if they don’t take their health for granted. Of course, you can't always choose what happens to your health. You might suffer an illness not because of deliberately abusing your body, but just because sometimes it rains and sometimes the sun shines. Seeing the ones you love fall victim to disease is heart breaking, so doing some regular exercise and eating junk in moderation might at least provide some hope of staving off the bad stuff.
I don’t necessarily mean that I want my kids to conquer Mount Everest at the age of eight. Well, they can if they want...I was just meaning that I hope that they don't let the fear of the unknown hamper them too much and that they have a sense of discovery and learning. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, it can be as simple as not saying "no" before even attempting to try a new food or travelling abroad or taking up a new sport or learning how to crochet. There's an infinite amount of things to do and learn, so it would be nice to see them embrace life as much as they can (in a responsible way, of course).
5. Be loving and be loved
Yeah, yeah, it's kinda soppy. You don't get many dads discussing the virtues of love. But, life without being loved is pretty lonely. Whether it's love from friends, family or a significant other, it's all quite fundamental to our wellbeing. I'd hope that my kids' characters aren't so detestable that they at least have friends and family that haven't disowned them. A significant other would be great too as friends and family don’t provide the same support that a partner can. And, as for loving others, I'd like them to show love and grace to others, because there just isn't enough of it in the world. If they can aim to "love your neighbour as yourself", it can't get better than that.
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