“Truly wonderful the mind of a child is” Yoda, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
I believe that one of the greatest gifts that we can give our kids is to encourage them to find and do things that they are passionate about. I can hear parents saying “Of course! Of course!” but really stop and think about it for a while. How often do we impose our ideas on our kids…..from the simple things to the biggest things…..most of the time I believe we do it unconsciously but it builds up over time.
My parents were great loving people who provided well for us but I believe that they were not good role models from a working perspective. When I was growing up, everyday I saw my parents not enjoying and even hating their jobs. I grew to believe that work was hard and money was hard to come by. They were both stressed about money and felt trapped. I really didn’t look forward to the beginning of my working life!
I never had a conversation with anyone when I was growing up about passion and loving your work. I was good at mathematics and economics at school so I fell into studying this at University and before I knew it I was an accountant! What happened? I wasn’t passionate about accounting or finance at all but I was eager to learn. So I spent the first ten years of my working life wondering how I was going to get through the next forty years of my working life. I was tired and miserable and I was only in my twenties. My skin erupted into volcanic sized acne and my stress showed itself to the world. I couldn’t hide my pain anymore. I wanted to scream I was so miserable and my “mid life crisis” happened in my late twenties. After many tears and much soul searching I made a decision. I choose to be brave, to get out of my comfort zone and change careers. This is when I decided to study Nutrition. It was a long road (five years part time) but I loved it and I never lost sight of my goal. For the first time ever I enjoyed lectures and wanted to study. I wanted to learn as much as possible. I was passionate. I went from a six figure salary to a minimum casual hourly rate but I was happy!!
I encourage all parents to open up dialogue with their kids as early as possible about what they love in life. Listen to them. Try not to give advice or opinions (unless requested). Just listen. Active listening is the process of listening and then reflecting back to a child what they have just said. It is so effective at promoting conversation and trust between people I highly recommend you learn how to do it! Be flexible with change if that is what your child wants.
Kids really do know themselves better than you do. Have faith in your kids. I love the story about Jessica Watson, the youngest person to sail solo and unassisted around the world. Sailing is her passion and her parents embraced her dream. I am sure they had fears but they let her go. Jessica is an amazing girl and her parents should be applauded too. I am not saying let your kids be reckless…..Jessica and her parents would have taken all safety considerations into account!
When our children ask us “Why do you go to work?”, we don’t just say “to earn money”…..We talk about how we love to help people, really enjoy building our business and all the other things we love about our work. Lead a life by example. Show passion for life and your kids will absorb it and aspire to that as well!!
Encourage your kids to have vision boards in their rooms, encourage them to journal their thoughts, ideas and feelings. Encourage them to listen to music that inspires them and makes them feel good. Talk to them about who inspires you and encourage your kids to think about people who inspire them. Encourage them to dream. I promise the world will be a better place!
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