Thursday, April 18, 2013

Our Children as a Reflection of the Self we yearn to Be

I am strongly against parents that use their small children as instruments to achieve the goals that for them were unreachable.

The majority of kids nowadays are a reflection of their parents ego. I must make clear that I am a mother of an 11 year old boy and I worked selling and distributing toys, therefore I know what I’m talking about.

Since my son was born I was exposed to the insane competition of parents against parents that use their children as trophies of their ego’s.
Is your child in early learning classes? When and where will he start kindergarten? Have you enlisted him in extracurricular activities? Does he know how to swim? Does he go to soccer, Karate, Aikido? Art, Music? What school or college are you going to send him to? etc., the list is endless, and endless are the suggestions from good intentioned parents that recommends you infinite lists of places and people to keep your children occupied.

I ask myself, is this necessary? Isn't it the job of a child to play and learn by playing?

I remember clearly as if it was yesterday, a day near christmas where I found myself in my shop talking with a customer. An enthusiast mother who was waiting for us to finish wrapping the gifts she had bought for her 6 year old daughter. The mother was young, modern; a hard working executive at a local Bank. She said to me, “its a shame that kids get all these toys for christmas and don't even play with them”.
Violating the rule that the client is always right, I asked her what was her young daughter schedule in an average weekday. The mother proudly answered “She goes to school from 7: 30 AM to 2:00 PM then she goes to ballet, on Tuesdays and Thursdays she additionally goes to piano lessons. Fridays she goes to Art and regularly there is a birthday party from a kid in her class. When she gets back home she does her homework, and she goes to bed around 8:30 PM. Saturdays she goes to swimming classes in the morning, and comes with us to social events. Sundays we go to the movies or we go out to eat with family or friends.” I ventured to asked her  “At what time does she play?” The poor mother was surprised with my question as if I had asked her a blasphemy. That mother, that a few minutes ago had complained that kids don't play anymore! At what time does she want her daughter to play with such a schedule? The girl is 6 years old!
Let's be realistic! At that age, very few the kids have developed a natural talent for something  and there are fewer that wish to spend 3 hours practicing every afternoon, and even more hours when they are close to recitals, which anyways cost the parents a fortune.

And those beautiful toys they got for Christmas ended up stored in a storage room along with their childhood dreams and fantasies.

I am almost sure that the mother and father of that little girl have made of her a trophy before their families and friends and feel proud that the poor girl doesn’t have a minute alone to find her true call. Probably that mother wanted to be a professional ballerina and the father wanted to play Football in the Major League or maybe go the Olympics
Or simply, they want their daughter to be something perfect they can show off.

What would have been of Albert Einstein if he would have had that tight schedule? Or Newton
without having the leisure of passing consecutive days just observing? What would have been of this globalized world if the great minds of the past wouldn't have the idle hours to be by themselves and have enough moments of “boredom” to imagine their great inventions?

Don’t ruin the opportunities of our children to excel in this world by snatching away their creativity and imagination. Lets not take away their childhood, let them play with their toys, because they learn by playing. The best toy for a kid is the box in which the toy comes in, it is there where they have infinite possibilities of discovering.

These competitive parents are only creating children who will have absolute codependency and will be afraid to be alone. Most likely, when they grow up they will end in addictive relationships because they never learned to be alone and appreciate a moment of solitude, a moment with themselves, they never learned what they want. The mere idea of being alone will be terrifying!
As a professionals they will lack the creative skills and will be contempt with the mediocrity. They’ll feel secure being told what to do and how to do it. They have always been told what to do and have learn to live a planified life.

Lets stop feeding our egos with our children and give them an opportunity to discover who they are and what they want. We should support them when they make their own choices; do not impose on them our unsatisfied wishes or forced them to live the lives we would have wished to live.

If we want our kids to become someone in the future, let them Be.

Please contact me if you find any grammatical errors. I apologized but English is not my native language. If  you wish to leave any feedback please comment or email me 

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