Watching my kids the other day I realized a funny thing…Oliver skips. Emil gallops, and Julian drags his feet (he can’t help it, he’s a teenager), but when he was their age he would always run. I think that it’s a funny way to look at them each individually. I didn’t teach any one of them to do what they do, they just do it. One of the biggest surprises in being a parent is realizing that your kids are just who they are. They might look like their parents, have mannerisms like their parents but they are inherently just themselves. Not only is it surprising, but it is also sometimes the hardest concept to realize and come to terms with. I learn a huge amount from other parents. I’m blessed to have a brilliant, well-versed parent population to claim as friends and mentors. The more seasoned parents have a MUCH better perspective on this than I do.
I think a lot about being hungry. What that means to grow up being hungry. To be so hungry for something that you’ll do anything to attain it. You’d try so hard that you can’t even see straight. We didn’t grow up hungry for food, but we grew up learning that hard work had it’s place to get where you wanted to go. I don’t see alot of kids who are growing up hungry. Of course not. We worked hard to go to college, and to provide for our children. That was our goal growing up, to live the American dream. Now that we are blessed and living that, I sometimes feel like I’m doing more damage than good; providing too much. Do you withhold things from your kids to instill hunger so that they have desire? I struggle tremendously with this. Being raising half Japanese, in a time when there weren’t so many of us, gave me adversity. Going to a school where the general population was extremely wealthy when we were not, gave me adversity. Education, traveling, and living in foreign countries and learning foreign languages provided me with perspective to learn how important adversity is. I want my kids to be happy and healthy. I don’t want them to starve, but I do want them to have passion. Deep passion for something. Passion so deep that they will do anything in their power to attain it.
So, if our kids are each themselves, where do we, as parents fit in as they mature? I guess that as they grow up that they’ll still need direction and guidance, as I still seek that in my own parents. I want to give my teenager space to be himself and learn from his mistakes, but don’t want him to get hurt.
What is the right mix?! I guess that I’ll have a lot of opportunity for trial and error. Especially more so now that summer is nearly here! One thing for certain, having our sweet Oliver in our family gives us all perspective and makes it real. Some days more real than other days 😉