How great a parent are you?
So you think you’re going to be the perfect parent?
What does that even mean?
Let me tell you a little story of a young boy born to two loving parents, who absolutely had no idea. If you could really get them to admit it 😜.
As a parent, I can imagine that 99% of the time you want what is best for your child, and the other 1% you want to tear your hair out because of them. It’s probably the toughest job in the world, having to bring up another human-being who is not only conscious but so easily impressionable.
As a young boy, I was forced to take piano lessons for what reason I’m still not sure. I think it was the idea that my parents wanted me to be an all-rounded child, a typical mindset of some Indian parents. Jack of all trades, but the idea that you had to be master in all was a little bit much. ‘Note to self!’ According to them, I was quite good at it, though there is no evidence to back it up today. I guess you could argue if I had continued, I could have eventually reached a level of mastery, but you know what, I realised soon enough, that making music was not my thing.
So with Piano, Guitar and the flute behind me, my dad put a camera in my hands in my teens, I remember it was in Rome and we were doing the whole tourist thing and since then I’ve rarely been in front of one. It seems that being behind a camera rather than in front was a way of expressing my self, in essence, I had found a connection and a way to enjoy myself, my company, and my mood. It wasn’t anything to do with the camera but in fact the creative element in anything you do in life. It was that feeling of seeing another persons’ emotion and trying to make sense of the situation. If you are interested, check out my Instagram.
In my adulthood, of which I’m only 4 years old, in my parent’s eyes, I’ve realised that I need something to master, something to be able to continuously refine. I am ok at most activities, but not exceptional in anything, but that’s ok. I think what my parents tried was to expose me to different things hoping something would stick — not a bad idea. I just wish they had tried sitting me down and explained, granted I’m not sure I would have understood at such a young age. However, there is clearly away, just look around you at the great musicians, athletes and actors. What you will find is a devoted mum or dad that in some cases was obsessive about the creative side, today I start that journey with a good grounding but am a few years behind those others. I’m happy with that, as life is a journey and I will probably enjoy it more!
“When you reach mastery, only then you can say you have the tools to actively learn as you move forward through life”.
Let’s bring it back to your kids ❗
Conversational babbling, the language of children. They are so curious about the world, and rightfully so, kids are like sponges, absorbing everything in their surroundings. It’s a joy seeing a child’s mind develop; however, you do find that parents can stunt that growth.
I have personally seen explanations dumbed-down for children so that the conversation can move swiftly on and I am not talking about those awkward moments that you have had or going to have in front of a TV when a sex scene pops up. To assume children lack the understanding of the most complex aspects of life is incorrect. I feel that when my parents took the time to articulate situations using the correct vocabulary rather than choose to omit them I learnt something new — what did not help, was when I was sent to the naughty step, that taught me nothing. Talk to your kids, words are such a great tool to influence the young mind. Today I look back and really appreciate the time when my parents took when they found those precious moments.
There are three critical things you need to teach them.
Teach them to ask why — a key to understanding.
Teach them to listen — a key to fostering curiosity.
Finally, help them to form opinions — a key to becoming confident in a discussion.
If you were to ignore this and focus on over-simplifying responses, your children might be inclined as they mature to become more aligned with grade driven learning, eventually losing the ability to think critically and creatively. If you fancy a spot of light reading The Dumbing Down Effect of American Public Education explains this perfectly.
So the moral here is, language and discussion open our mind to focus our perception, awareness and thought on specific aspects of the world, which help us communicate better.
Being able to communicate effectively is paramount!
Being the perfect parent is not a fixed goal. Perfection is a moving target, continually changing depending on a situation. As a son, I realise that the journey of learning new critical thinking skills with my parents is what made them great parents, helping me understand new concepts that I have learnt at school, teaching me my timetables and reading me my favourite books as I dozed off into my dream world was just there to bring us together.
P.S. Mum and Dad I love you guys to bits but as you continuously remind me. “You can always improve!”