If you’ve ever parented a teenager, you know quite well that they think they are the masters of the universe, and that you know absolutely nothing. While the battle burns fiercely between who’s right and who’s wrong sometimes in all honesty, it may be okay to wave the white flag.
As a kid I yearned for a lot of things. I wanted to be a Spanish dancer, to sing opera and play the violin. I became a model in 7th grade and wanted to further my career by going to modeling school. I was an introvert but curious, smart but lazy, which means I was my own kryptonite. I could hush my own curiosity because I didn’t like being around people. My intellect was innate, so I didn’t really like working any harder than I needed to. I learned exactly how to do just enough to get by. My parents encouraged me to get good grades which I did without hesitation, but their vision for my life didn’t go past the scope of their own.
Neither of my parents had a college education, so I can’t truly recall them genuinely pushing for mine. Granted, when it was time for me to began the journey, they were in the midst of a divorce. Even as a younger child, it wasn’t embedded in me, or pushed upon me, or even talked about that much. Maybe because they didn’t know much about it, maybe they just didn’t know what to say. Looking back, I feel like my parents were this way about everything I wanted to do. Their indirect negligence towards my goals and dreams effected my life tremendously. I never became a Spanish dancer, nor did I learn how to play the violin. I was allowed to join The Chicago Children’s Choir where I received classical vocal training. That was great for me, until my parents began having marital problems, crushing my dreams of traveling with the choir. The final restriction on the molding of my future self would be, my father preventing me from going to modeling school even though I was awarded a scholarship. He said he didn’t see the point if I was already getting booked jobs without it. I didn’t book anything after that.
My parents were teaching me how to minimize my vision for myself without knowing it. Crushing my hopes and dreams. They taught me how to think only in the box, and created a fear that crippled me into believing that there was nothing greater out there for me. Thank goodness I had teachers and school counselors who saw my gifts and potential. They pushed me, made me believe in myself. With their help, I was able to see a different world, but the mental barriers that my parents embedded in me always seemed to suck me back in.
Children are molded by the thoughts and actions of their parental forces. My parents didn’t know better so, it was hard for them to show me better. I wonder if I would’ve had a significantly different future, if they would have taken the time to nurture my dreams. I’ve learned as a parent to do the opposite of my own. Every single thing my children desire to do or accomplish, I breathe life into. I encourage them and show them that the world is full of possibilities. I tell them that, with hard work and dedication, they can accomplish anything. It’s so easy for parents to get caught up in their own lives and schedules that we forget that tomorrow, these children have to be prepared for an uncertain future. It is our job to make sure that future has some security and certainty, but also stamped with their approval. That is how we give them life, even after we’ve given them life.