Role Of A Parent
February 3, 2020
A few days back I was catching up with a friend whose child was getting ready to go to college in a couple of years. My friend was concerned that he may not be doing enough to ensure the best for his child.
“I want my kid to get into the best university” .
“I don’t know if all the support I am giving is good enough. What should I be doing.”
“I don’t know anything about what my child wants to pursue, She is taking English and Economics subjects as her major. Don’t know if those will help her get the right job as the right pay”
Many parents I know have these questions cropping up when their kids get to the college going age, ready to fly the nest. Suddenly every thing is uncertain and there is fear about the future of the child.
I and my friend ended up having an interesting chat about what is the best role we could be playing as parents, to help our kids manage their life well.
If we had to describe some of the impressive people we have interacted with, in our life, how would we describe them- Invariably we would attribute traits like Honest, Humble, Creative, Problem Solver, Work Ethics, Great communicator, Networker, Inspirational, People’s person etc. These are all values or soft skills.
We remember people by the values and soft skills they demonstrate.
The current educational system invests virtually all the time and effort in training the children on academic excellence and spends very little time in helping the kids build their value system or soft skills.
This has to come from the parents. That is their role- To instil in the children, the right values and helping them develop their soft skills.
We concluded on a few things we could do to help prepare our kids as they attain adulthood.
– Guide the kids to focus on what is within their control- Their effort and creativity. What happens as an outcome is a function of the effort and labour that has gone into the activity. All of us need to celebrate the effort as much as, if not more than the results.
– Demonstrate to our kids through our own actions as parents, the virtue of accountability, which means taking ownership and responsibility for everything that happens- doesn’t matter if that is good or not so good. Blaming others or circumstances means we are excusing ourselves.
– Encourage the child to Journal every day. Capturing thoughts and chronicling what ever is happening every day. The process of journaling builds the capacity to contemplate and develop self awareness, which is the inner compass that will help the child navigate the high seas of life.
– Help the child build the resilience to deal with rejection, disappointments while also having the grace and equanimity to deal with success.
– Instil a sense of humility and curiosity. Humility is the fertile soil in which the seed of knowledge can grow. Curiosity is the water that will sprout the seed of knowledge to life. These are super powers that will help the kids maximise their potential.
– Impart in them the belief that life is like a marathon. When we run a marathon, we know there is pain and we learn how to deal with the pain. We do not try and avoid the pain. The runner does not ask others to run for him or her. Similarly, it should be with anything that they may do in life. Do not look for short-cuts. There is no substitute for the pain that comes with putting in the effort. Growth and achievement comes not from avoiding the pain but learning to deal with it.
Lastly, motivate them to be generous. To go out and give their discretionary time, energy, effort to support any activity, community or a person as a service without seeking anything in return. The world always looks out for people who are generous.