As parents we always want our children to have it better than we did. Even if we had a great childhood ourselves we still want better. But what is better? Is it giving them more stuff, anything they want? Is it never saying "no", maybe fighting their battles for them? Praising them for every little thing they do? Does any of this really make their lives better? Does it help them become better adults in the long run?
Sometimes I think as parents, we want our children to succeed so badly that we choose to lower the bar, and even help them over it, in order that they don't fail.This isn't helping them. By lowering the bar, we've already set them up for failure. We've told them "I don't think you can do any better than this". We've put a limit on their hopes and dreams. We've stifled their futures. We've lowered our expectations to ensure success but instead we cause failure.We hurt their self-esteem. We are basically telling our children "I don't believe in you", "this is as high as you can ever expect to go in life". Our children need to know that we believe in them, that we'll back them and be there for them even through mistakes and failures. That we will cheer for them even when things are hard.
We need to set the bar so high that it will take a lifetime to reach it! Remember when you were a kid and your parents would say to you "you can be the president of the United States of America if you want to"? Most of us knew that we never would be and probably didn't want to be. But it sure was nice to know that someone thought we could.That we were capable of great things! Our children need to know this too. They need to know that sometimes the road to success is long and hard but that we, as parents, have faith that they can achieve their dreams -- no matter how lofty they may seem.
When we do raise the bar for our children they achieve far beyond our expectations. Even if they don't make it all the way to the top, they'll be alright. They will still go higher than they ever thought possible. They will know that life takes hard work and perseverance, and that sometimes we make mistakes but that is okay. They learn that even if they fail they can get back up and try again. They learn the value of hard work and the joy of success. They learn to make a plan and take the necessary steps to achieve the goal. They learn that no matter what, their family will always be there to celebrate the goals reached or for encouragement during the rough patches.
As parents, part of our job is to help our children become productive, well-rounded, successful adults. Able to hold their own in this world we live in. We can not do this by lowering the bar, only by raising the bar can we truly help our children be successful in life.
I don't think any of us know the heights we can achieve until we are truly challenged. I challenge you, as parents, to push your children harder, have higher expectations and encourage them along the way. Stop holding them back because you're afraid for them. Mistakes are okay, they help us learn and grow.
Set the bar all the way to the heavens and watch your children soar! Be proud of both their accomplishments and yours, as parents of successful adults!