Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pass it on

"Experience is the best teacher... it gives the test first and then the lesson"

I love that quote and find it very true very often. What amazes me is that google search will turn up 26 million plus for 'parenting books' and 61 million for 'leadership books'. I'm not talking about the disparity and that there should be more research on parenting than on leadership (though perhaps there should).

What amazes me is that with 87 million hits on books geared towards leading others, we take for granted what we can teach others. I see it all the time... the parent is forced to work at 14; has to work there way through high school and University (including jobs they hate that team them the value of a dollar and planning for your future so you have a choice as to where you work); they get an education and put in their time. They work from the ground floor up, putting in unclocked overtime and doing whatever they can/ should to get ahead. They finally achieve the house/ the car/ the salary/ the marriage/ the kids...

and then they buy their kid a Mercedes at 16, don't force them to work, replace the car when the kid isn't responsible enough to care for it; ship them away to University (if they somehow have the grades) and then get them a 50K job to start with the family business...

...and then they wonder "with all the advantages you have, why are you so spoiled?"
or "why don't you care about the family business the way I do; you have had everything given to you" or other comments that denote the lack of appreciation, or acquisition of skills or values along the way.

Does anybody else see a disconnect here?

I am not saying don't try to give your kids advantages you never had. Every good parent wants to give their kids the best life possible. The disconnect arises in that the best lessons you've learned; the ones that have shaped your values and principals... shouldn't we see to it that our kids have similar experiences (or even better ones) that lead to the formation of their own values?

If experience is truly the best teacher, than coddling kids and protecting them at every turn, or replacing your time or your love with your money, simply won't cut it.

Give your kids the best you have to offer; patience, life experience, and an ear and advice after the fact when they go through the tough spells they inevitably will and should go through.

if experience truly is the best teacher - pass it on (the experiences not just your words).

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