Do you think it is important to do everything within your power to make sure a child (yours or not) succeeds? Before you answer just think about what is the “everything” that one should do to help a child succeed??? Then you may also want to ponder on is that what is “success” and why do you want someone (else) to succeed?
Let’s start at the very bottom. Success is subjective and not necessary. Tough? Well, what success mean to you might be absolutely meaningless to someone else. Having a checklist with well paying job on the top of that list, followed by a wife/husband/partner and kids, a house or a home loan, a car and savings in the bank may not mean the world to a child in Africa lacking clean drinking water. For them success may “only” mean living long enough to see another sunrise.
We all believe we have the perfect formula to success and believe it to be life itself. We want our children to succeed where we could not, for whatever reason. If I were brought up in a poor family I may not want my child to experience the same, so I do everything within my power to ensure that my child gets the best of everything: clothing, food and education, giving my child a head-start. But is it really help?
We need to question the need to succeed! We need to question the meaning of success. We need to question the means to success. Is it getting everything from our parents or is it working towards getting what we need? Is it getting a formula for the best investment, education or business strategies or learning from our own mistakes?
A child watches others walk and that child eventually tries to walk. Stands up and falls over and over again. Should the parents rush in to prevent the next fall? Should the parents take frustration out of the learning process or is it something useful? How should parental love manifest? Should we strap knee-pads and helmets on every baby and lay cushions all over the place???
Parents and others concerned with children need only give children a chance to figure out how to succeed and not their beliefs, recipes and ideas for success. We can show possibilities to others without forcing them to turn those possibilities into actualities we would like. But only if we do not want interfere with and even suppress their creativity. That would imply we could actually accept their capabilities and talents.
Gently and respectfully sharing our point of view without expecting anything. Now that is real kindness and a way to acknowledge someone else’s independence, creativity and potential. It is of course much easier to counsel, advise and force our opinion onto another human being, but that is where self-centeredness and ignorance would shatter a relationship.
A well thought-out question would seek to draw out what is inside the other person. We just need to accept the possibility that the other person already knows the answer. That may sound like a paradox, but that is why the limitations of our own mind should be noticed and questioned. Once something can be imagined it becomes possible. At least on the level of thought, but is it not where everything seems to begin? Only as a possibility, without a percentage sign painted on it of how likely it is.
A question which is wide open invites, engages and encourages. An inquiry into what is possible and what can be done together is where co-creation begins. But that requires us to see others, even a child, as having an unlimited potential. Would it be helpful to first see ourselves this way?