How To Ensure Our Children's Success
Trying to ensure our children's success in life implies we know what success looks like. It suggests we know what's best for them and they don't.
I believe this is a flawed mentality.
I know this woman not far from me that I got to know through the kids at the local school.
She's a professional and works every hour she can to build her business and make a good life for her family.
Her drive is obvious, intent commendable and typical of most parents.
When her kids were younger we'd see them on the road playing with friends. Now we rarely see them at all except for a couple weeks during the summer.
My sons tell me her kids are not allowed out to play during school term, they have to stay in and study.
Maybe she's right. Maybe we should keep our kids cooped up indoors studying so they can become academic successes.
But what if our kids didn't come into the world to fulfill our preconceived ideas of success?
What if they have their own inherent wants, needs and desires and they were allowed follow them unhindered?
Allow Them Follow Their Own Path
My eldest son reads so much it's not funny.
Every chance he gets he's reading. Getting through heavy volumes of Harry Potter like they're a rare comodity.
Seriously – in a single weekend he could have one of those thick books read front to back.
I couldn't believe how quickly he was getting through them so I tested his knowledge by pulling random questions from the books.
I give him Harry Potter quizzes. He gets 9 from 10 or 10 from 10 most times.
I'm totally envious but I'm in complete admiration of the undivided attention he brings to the task.
He is totally obsessed, even prolific in his reading and gathering of information. He's in preparation you see. For what who knows, but he has commenced the work.
The focus and attention he brings to the things he loves will take him far I've no doubt about it. As long as he stays in that vein and is not distracted by what he thinks he's supposed to be doing.
He loves to read and that falls within the ideas of what it means to us in our society to be on the right path. But what if he loved something obscure like soap carving?
You can't make a career from that surely?
Many children start off with a focused interest in something, then parents, peers and the rest of the world convince them they need to change.
That's why most of us adults end up doing shit we don't like doing.
Choosing Something Else Instead
My kid is not unique. Most children have a draw towards something they are passionate about.
Our requirement as parents therefore, is to let that develop with as little interference from us as possible, even when it seems to us like a bad move.
We can't possibly know the ultimate direction their interests will take them and we shouldn't try to figure it out either.
We shouldn't lay on them our fears, anxieties and biases about what it means to succeed in this world.
You see we've grown up with rules and regulations, a preset route to monotonous normality disguised as life success. It doesn't have to be that way for them.
The greatest challenge for us parents is to allow our children follow their interests and let that take them wherever it will.
Only then can they ever have a chance of creating something special and unique according to their own values.
We're not meant to be all the same, we're not meant to be robots on the assembly line – that's the job of the machines.
Human beings are meant to be diverse, to create, to innovate and to compliment each other.
This is where the greatest opportunity for the advancement of our species in societal and technological terms lies.
The industrial age of the assembly line boxed in minded worker, molded through the systems of society and education is nearing an end.
And for our children to survive beyond the limits of modern society they need the space to grow into their own futures, not ones we design for them.
Not As Advanced As We Think
For our children to succeed in life it is not that they follow our rules, but that they follow their own.
This is a big ask, one that I personally struggle with all the time. You see like you I've been heavily conditioned to believe certain things about success.
I'm working on rewriting those scripts but it's a challenge nonetheless.
Our definition of life success has proven to be a flawed one, there's no doubting that.
Droves of ordinary people suffer daily through anxiety and depression living the modern life we've built.
We, and previous generations have built a deeply dysfunctional society, one where we celebrate war and tout disaster and suffering on our TV screens.
Gamification of the most distasteful of human behaviours and flogging them off as entertainment is normal.
Sharing of other people's suffering on social media is commonplace.
We convince ourselves that working for an imaginary future is right and proper, and to sacrifice personal relationships for that future is noble.
On it goes, round and round, teaching our children to do the exact same thing.
Despite our technology, I truly believe the human race is not very far advanced at all.
What do you think?
Completely Changing The Subject
Now, to completely change the subject; I've made something new.
A couple weeks ago I mentioned I would create more marketing and business related material.
Well, that didn't get the response I thought it would so I had a rethink.
I love technology and the process of figuring things out. Really, I get a buzz from it and I wanted to have a place where I could share that stuff.
So I made Seolar – a new site that teaches you how to use online marketing tools. The main focus is audience building and email communication.
Communication is everything in business and to succeed commercially we need to find a way to communicate at scale.
Marketing our work online and through email helps us do that.
Now, email marketing has somewhat of a bad reputation with many believing it to be salesy and spammy, but that's because we've been conditioned by the worst of its kind.
It doesn't have to be that way, and quite frankly shouldn't.
If you are an artist, writer or otherwise creative person and you want to get your stuff out into the world, there is no better way to do that than by using email.
On Seolar I show you step by step exactly how to find your audience online, give them what they need and want, and build your business in the process.
Articles From This Week
This week, as well as my usual musings on Storymaker and here on my own site, I've been building out the Seolar idea.
From here on I'll include all my marketing stuff in the Seolar newsletter so if you'd like to get that every Monday you can sign up here.
Otherwise I'll continue with Sunday Letters as normal. Here's what I wrote this week.
All the best for now, have a great Sunday!