Wednesday, March 6, 2013
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.
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?