Wise parents know that deep within their children is a free spirit and a goodness that need not be forced, only watered and encouraged

Today’s parents are a stressed bunch — not surprising since they’re part of the “Anxious Generation.” A recent American Psychological Association study found that millennials report more stress and anxiety than any other generation. New parents are either worried that they are over-documenting their kids’ lives or that they haven’t downloaded the Baby Tracker app yet or they have not provided enough opportunities for their kid to grow into a genius, prodify or a virtuoso. They are pretty sure they’re not living in the moment, even as they capture thousands of Instagram-worthy moments.

Most children who are labeled as geniuses, prodigies or exceptionally gifted end up leading very average lives. Most do not become great leaders, musicians, artists, scholars, giants of business or philosophers. The ones that do, got there on their own and at a natural pace. The main reason for not pushing your child to learn too much too soon is the same one that explains why a ten year cannot baby sit, but most sixteen years olds can.

Despite what we believe we know about a child’s intellect and maturity, it’s wrong to place goals in front of them that exceed the norm for their age group. It’s wrong for parents to bypass the truth by saying that their child really wanted to accomplish a certain activity and they were just along for the ride. More likely then not, those parents bought the ticket for them to take that ride!  

Success is something to be measured by each person who pursue sit. It’s easy to look at entrepreneurs who start great business empires from nothing and admire their achievement. Not only have they realized great wealth for themselves, but may have provided jobs and opportunities for tens of thousands of others. In our eyes, they have succeeded. Sometimes we overlook the first grade teacher who retires after forty years, having touched countless lives in ways no one can readily measure. That teacher may not have become wealthy, but might feel that a life spent educating young people was reward enough. Perhaps that teacher inspired a student enough to continue on with their education, despite adversity or hardships? It might just be that student who grows up to become the discoverer of a cure for Aids or Cancer?

Ancient Advice for Modern Parents

“Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.

Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.

Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.

And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.”

― William Martin, Ancient Advice for Modern Parents

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