For as long as I can remember I have been told by teachers and other figures of authority that I could be anything I wanted to be. My children were told the same thing throughout their lives in the educational system. The two people who have never told that particular lie to my children are myself and my wife.
I can imagine your horror right now. I can picture you thinking, or perhaps saying to someone nearby, “how horrible! This man admits right here, in writing no less, on his website that he is crushing his children’s dreams! He’s destroying their self worth and their self image! What a despicable man!!!”
I put it to you that the person(s) responsible for crushing my children’s dreams is not me, rather it is the fault of those who built up false hopes in them.
We need to stop telling these horrendous lies to our children. Informing them they could be the next President of the United States of America if they want it badly enough. Telling them they may be the doctor who cures cancer if they just study hard enough! Letting them know that as long as they put their minds to it they will succeed at everything others fail at!
No. Simply not true.
The next President of the United States of America (when they come of age to be elected) will not likely be them. Not unless they have been born with the appropriate golden spoon inserted firmly and deeply in their mouths.
They are unlikely to ever be doctors or lawyers unless they have the right family background and enough money to get there.
At best our blue collar children may hope to be lower middle class citizens who, should they work hard and achieve good grades, have attended a poor to mediocre college where they will hopefully get good grades and become a more successful blue collar worker than we were.
Only in the most exceptionally rare cases do average kids grow up to do well above average things.
My child, nor yours, ever has a hope of being the CEO of Wal-Mart, or Sears, or Microsoft. The odds of them ever making millions or billions of dollars a year in income far exceed the odds of them ending up in a single wide mobile home the rest of their lives.
But does that mean they can’t live rich, happy lives? Absolutely not!
Our children don’t need yachts and mansions to be happy. They don’t have to own a collection of classic cars to enjoy their lives.
What we should be telling our children is akin to, though only a kissing cousin, of what we do tend to tell them.
“You can do many things in life. You can have a happy life. You can, if you push yourself and never surrender to laziness or despair, become a happy person. You can do well at whatever it is you choose to do. Always remember that anything you pick to do must be worth doing, and then do it well. When you are at work, focus on that task. When you are at home, leave work at it’s place. Spend time with the people you love, whom love you, and you will be successful at the most important part of life.”
When we begin to tell them that, we will stop setting them up for despair and depression later in life. We all hate being lied to. Does it occur to us as adults that when we tell our children the lie of how they can literally do anything in life that they may grow up and hate not only us for telling the lie, but them for falling for it? I doubt it. Otherwise we’d stop telling them now and begin being truthful.
Remember, you can tell them the truth and not crush them. Just remember to be honest. Don’t go telling them they’ll never be anything or anyone. That would be a lie as well. Just let them know gently that, because they weren’t born into the wealthy upper class they are unlikely to ever be a member of that class. Let them know they can try, but that should they fall from that ladder, they still have worth to themselves and those around them.