My daughter graduates in a couple of months so the questions lately are all about what she wants to do after she graduates. I get it, that’s what’s ingrained in each of us, but I sure wish we could shift our focus to who she wants to be/become. That is after all, what happens when we raise our children. They become.
Our kids become … happy and adjusted, generous and thoughtful. Or maybe they become spiteful and greedy, selfish and uncaring. We aren’t raising doctors or train engineers, hockey players or hair stylists per se; that’s just what they will eventually do. But how they do it, how they maneuver through learning, growing, changing, adjusting – all of those things are taught as they observe those around them – at home, at school, at play.
We can have the most disciplined, structured home environment, toting the kids to an abundance of practices beyond what their young years and mental development can really endure. Prodding them to levels of success we weren’t able to achieve, that’s what it’s all about isn’t it? Or on the other end of the spectrum, we can let them ‘teach themselves’, monitor their own growth. We’ve all seen how that turns out. On average, not as well as our minds or opinions might want to admit.
I’d like to think that my daughter has learned kindness, tolerance, loyalty and perseverance. Getting schooled is important but learning how to do life is what will get her through the learning process, the application of her work ethic, her character. It doesn’t really matter what she wants to do if she doesn’t have the life skills to go alongside her chosen path.
Perfectionism to the nth degree when she was little may translate into anxiety/fear of failure, and those notions could paralyze her from her future success. How has she learned to move through those thought processes to get to the next step? Have I done enough to equip her? I don’t know but we’ll find out soon enough.
In my own quest for living out my purpose, I wonder how my example of pursuing who I was created to be impacts the future choices and decisions of all three of my kids. Then I think maybe it’s about who I raise, not about what I do for a living or a purpose that matters. I have these three kids with me for now, not for always.
Who am I raising (character), not what am I raising (career)? Good question.
What triggers for you when you transpose the whole “who am I being” question for yourself? Who are you being, rather than what do you do?
Check in with yourself on these questions:
- When I meet someone new, what’s the first thing I ask them?
- Am I tied to what I do as being my identity or are there other ways I describe myself?
- Is what I do more important to me than who I am being? Why?
- How can I show up differently in my interactions? For example, is there a different question I can ask when I meet someone new, besides what do you do for a living?
- What kind of impact is who I am being at work, at home or at play having on my ‘others’? Is it the impact I truly want to have?
- Who am I being? That would actually be a great one to start with. And end with .
My three don’t really know what I’ve done for most of my career life, not really. Nor do their friends succinctly describe what their parents ‘do’ for the most part either, unless it’s something easy to describe like a nurse, firefighter or mayor. What they can all describe however, is who their parents are at home, behind closed doors.
I’ve been spending more time with my kids as of late, paying attention to who they are becoming, how I am being with them. Who knew that people asking what my daughter is going to do with her life would translate into an adjustment of who I am being in life!
I hope you find life-altering benefits as you reflect on the whole idea of ‘being’ or ‘becoming’, just as I did.
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