As each of my children have reached their late teens, we have had a talk about what they wanted to be and where they were headed in their lives. We have discussed many things. Cosmetology, Real Estate, Engineering, Veterinarian, Physician, Cattle Rancher, Radio Announcer, Farmer, Fireman, Nursing, and many other such ventures. My children have been raised in an atmosphere of “you can do whatever you set your mind to” and “You can be whoever you want to be” along with a huge dose of common sense thrown into the equation.
We talk about grades, treating others like we want to be treated, giving our best to each thing we do, staying away from drugs, and the different levels of risk that we are comfortable with. We have discussed going to college and NOT going to college. Working for a year and then going to college. Working and paying for college at the same time. Two have chosen to join the military and go to college after so the paying bit is not so difficult.
Somewhere in all the conversations we discuss life satisfaction. Enjoying the job/career rather than just working for the paycheck. We talk about counting the cost and looking at both sides before making a decision. We pour over the pros and cons of where to live and how much rent might be and how to manage rent, school, car payments and the cost of living in general.
“Mom, this is so much harder than I thought it was going to be!”
“Mom, I decided NOT to move out. I can’t afford it on my own!”
“Mom, how am I supposed to work and pay for all of this at the same time?
What they haven’t realized just yet is that it does not matter WHAT they become as much as it matters WHO they become. True to self and to others. Trustworthy. Faithful. Kind. Considerate. Gracious. Fair. Polite. Hardworking.
I do want my children to find something to enjoy and to find someone to enjoy it with. I want them to be able to pay their bills and take care of their families. But more than that I want them to BE good people. I want them to BE thankful for all the folks who have helped them along the way. I want them to BE in love with their families. I want them to BE the kind of friend others will turn to in trouble. I want them to BE aware of others less fortunate than themselves. I want them to BE gracious to themselves and to others.
I want them to BE forgiving when others wrong them. BE aware of beautiful things. BE willing to admit when they are wrong.
BE willing to take risks. BE generous to others. BE open to new ideas. BE at peace with others.
It would be a lie to say that I don’t my children to be successful in life, but I find that as I mature and grow, my definitions of success have shifted away from material possessions and the fast-paced, have-it-all life. My ideas of “You can be whoever you want to be” are no longer centered on an elusive profession and some relative value associated with that profession.
So, when they call and screech, “Mooootheeerrr, I don’t want to be like you and dad and work all the time! I don’t plan to be so stressed!”
I smile into the phone and say, “I hope not. I want you to BE better than dad and I. Not make the mistakes we did.”
Then finally, “Oh, mom, I love you so much!”
“I love you too.”
She’s off to a great start don’t you think?