Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Good Life

Posted on Wednesday, March 06, 2013 by International Coach Federation

Note:  This is a blog that I wrote specifically thinking about parents, but on further reflection I realized that the same is true of the space that coaches need to hold for our clients.  In reading, you can think of either the parent/child relationship or the coach/client one.

I am currently preparing a presentation for parents on ways to help their children pursue the future that taps into their greatest gifts, makes them feel most alive, and connects them to their greatest passions.  However, as I am preparing this work I am becoming more and more concerned about my audience and their reaction to my message. Running through my mind are thoughts of “don’t let them think you are discouraging these kids from becoming doctors and lawyers” and “parents aren’t going to support something that leads their children down a path of being a poor starving artist type.” While in no way am I promoting the route of starvation for anybody, I realize that connecting young adults with the things that make their spirits soar can lead them anywhere. There is an uncertainty in this that can be very scary. Most parents desire for their children to go to a good college, so they can be prepared to have a good career, and make good money;  all based on the dream of their children having good lives.

In the thralls of this internal debate between full honest disclosure and the desire to actually get an audience of people to listen to me, I began to reflect on my own children and what I want for them.  Of course I want them to have a good life, but what does good mean? I believe a common explanation of a good life is equated with a life filled with opportunity and happiness. Without our intention, however, this definition has been contorted by society to mean “a secure and pleasurable experience,” but do these things really lead to opportunity and happiness? For some, it absolutely does. If going to that college and getting that job that offers security and great pay also provides personal fulfillment and opportunities for growth, then the answer is definitely yes. For others, however, the answer is a big resounding NO. What do parents do in this case? Do we sweep in to persuade our children that they need to go after a guaranteed paycheck so that they do not have to deal with poverty, adversity, and disappointment as adults? For many, this is our first reaction. Before we jump on that reaction though, I think we need to ask ourselves the following questions:
  • By trying to help pave the safe path for our children, are we cheating them out of the most rich and resonant experiences of their lives?
  • What is more joyful than claiming our passion and working through adversity to become a master at what we love most? 
  • Is having financial security while doing a job that we have no connection to really superior to the fulfillment of producing work that we are passionate about and, then,  putting it out in the world to share with others? 
  • What inner joy, what strength of spirit, what connection to humanity is created by an easy and safe path? 
  • What is the worst thing that could happen if my child pursues his dream? 
  • If my child does not realize his goal, is there still value in the experience that cannot be gotten otherwise?
  • Finally, the most important, profound, and possibly scariest question that we need to ask ourselves is this:  What is possible if my child shows the courage and dedication to pursue her dream? 
It is only by the courage that parents show in saying to their children “I want you to pursue your dream and do whatever it takes to realize it, even though there are no guarantees” that we are giving our children what they need from us more than anything in the world:  Faith, Hope, and Love…not to mention an amazing role model.
If all parents had the courage to do this, I wonder what the future would look like for our children as they create together communities of passionate, dedicated, compassionate, and authentic individuals.  Is there a good life out there that we haven’t even dared to dream possible yet?
Regina Hellinger is an inspirational writer, speaker, and life coach who specializes in working with aspiring coaches, gifted individuals, and educators.You can reach Regina at or on Twitter @ReginaHellinger.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post! Thank you for sharing. For those looking for a "Goof Life" I would recommend checking out some of these great Wellesley MA real estate listings. Beautiful homes at very good prices!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.