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How close is close enough?

Me and my children - carriers of my genes. A taste of immortality for me.

Me and my children – carriers of my genes. A taste of immortality for me.

I spend a lot of time with my two children in this phase of my life and I feel very blessed that I have the opportunity to do so. I will cherish these moments for the rest of my life and I thank God every single day.

Being a parent is quite interesting because most of society make it out to be a relationship where the parenting is ‘one way’ but I think otherwise. I feel, the child ‘parent’ you too, if you are aware enough to recognise it so. They teach and remind you of many things you let slip by the way-side. They help you improve your game as a parent, as a human being.

We play many games together, from racing cars to doll house; from twister to monopoly; from shops to painting; from horse-riding on dad to pillow fights; from dress-ups to leggos; from hide-and-seek to pretend classrooms and so many others. I just love my time with them and I love this role of being a dad.

You see, my son is quite innovative. He is a bit of a thinker. For example, today he created maizes that he drew up from self-created dots on clear pages. He then asked me to find my way through his newly created maize (indicating where the ‘start’ is and where I should try and ‘finish’).

The aim of the game is to get to the ‘finish’ line without drawing over an existing line. I came very close to a few of his maize lines but managed to get out of the maize. He applauded my effort but then asked me an interesting question, he said –

“Dad, how close is close enough?”

I have always told my children that it was important to not be afraid to ask questions rather than know all the answers (as there are countless storage devices or google these days). I also always remind them that it is even more important to ask the right questions.

And so he did.

My kids and I with Ruby the Dog. They just adore each other. Choose to spend time with your kids, not 'quality time'.

My kids and I with Ruby the Dog. They just adore each other.
Choose to spend time with your kids, not ‘quality time’.

I asked him what he meant, and he showed me where I had come very close to ‘touching’ two of his self-made maize lines on my way to the finish line and that I could be considered to have ‘not finished’ and lost. I told him that it was a matter for him and I to decide on how ‘close enough’ is defined and acceptable to both of us. He was happy with how close my drawing was to his line and said that close enough to not be close enough for him to win.

I still am very amazed at the question he asked because it could be applied to many other areas of life. The maizes he draws could represent the maizes (different paths) we are all taking in life. Are you able to accept a service that is 98% complete without getting angry and accepting that it was ‘close enough’.

Are you a ‘close enough is good enough’ person or are you do you expect nothing short of perfect? Are you able to forgive people if they fall short? Once, twice … repeatedly? What is your tolerance level? I know how it feels to come close enough to winning natural body-building contests, experiencing runner-up finishes quite a few times. To me, close enough was not good enough in those contests but that was how the results turned out.

Have you reflected on how close are your closest friends? Are they close enough for you to really get to know you? How close enough are your family relatives? Are the number of years in a relationship relevant or is it the actual number of hours of ‘face-to-face’ contact that brings you close? How do you define ‘close enough’ in a relationship to be able to trust them? How close is close enough for you?

What a thought-provoking question from my son and was the impetus for this blog message to you.

Work the muscles you don't 'see' in front of the mirror. It creates balance and symmetry and lowers your risks of injuries and potential postural problems amongst many other things. Vv.

Work the muscles you don’t ‘see’ in front of the mirror.
It creates balance and symmetry and lowers your risks of injuries and potential postural problems amongst many other things.
Vv.

Anyway, if you have children, YOU, as a mother or father – you’re given the responsibility to work with them and help guide and build them from strong values and principles. Guide them in the ‘way they should go’. I believe it is the single most important task we will ever have in our lifetime – our most important responsibility.

I strongly believe that no other accomplishment and no definition of ‘success’ will ever compensate for failure to help teach eternal truths to your children. No amount of success (as commonly defined in life as financial wealth and status) can ever compensate for the failure to invest in your most priceless off-spring, the generation currently around your knees.

So, choose well I say.

As the American – William James, the father of modern Psychology once stated when referring to time spent with children –

“The greatest use of life is to spend it with something that will outlast it.”

This is about as close enough to close as you could get to truth on this area of life. None of us will ever get out of life, alive, in this life anyway.

And truth, as we know is beauty. So, embrace beauty – embrace the beauty and truth of life. Embrace your children.

And remember, don’t just schedule ‘quality time’, there’s no such thing. You either make time or you don’t. Choose the former before it is too late.

The ‘empty nest’ comes way too soon.

All the very best in your decisions that contribute to your purpose in life.

 

Until next time,

With my children striking a 'front-double biceps' pose for the camera. Watch out these guns are loaded .... hope you're wearing your bullet-proof vests! Vv.

With my children striking a ‘front-double biceps’ pose for the camera.
Watch out these guns are loaded …. hope you’re wearing your bullet-proof vests!
Vv.

~~Life &; wellness COACH~~

~~Life &; wellness COACH~~

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adaptation, attitude, God, parenting, parenting skills, path, skills, strengths

Unique WAYS.

Guess where we are? The Sydney Harbour bridge in the background - at one of our nearby favourite playgrounds.

Guess where we are?
The Sydney Harbour bridge in the background – at one of our nearby favourite playgrounds.

Every individual is unique. No two persons have the same finger print nor voice frequency. Every person has their own individual characteristics that make each of them – them.

It was only tonight that my wife mentioned that she was having a little difficulty coming to terms with the changes she has been observing with our daughter. These changes were testing her patience.

I told her that I believed that the optimal way is to allow our daughter to grow and discover her own possibilities. It is a continuously evolving process. We shouldn’t, as parents force our own biases and preferred philosophies on our child without embracing the uniqueness that makes up that child first.

I believe our parenting styles should not be too static and inflexible. Both parties to any successful relationship needs to negotiate slack. A constant push and pull tug-o-war.

We, as parents need to be better listeners, in particular, we need to listen to what our children ‘do not say’. In other words we should become more aware of our ‘children’s’ unique ways and adopt and adapt our parenting styles accordingly.

I think this is the meaning of the line regarding the process of raising your child (parenting) somewhere in proverbs in the Bible, something along the lines of –

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

As I see it, the ‘way’ is determined and ultimately pre-determined by God. It is unique to the child, to each of us (all God’s children). Way could also be another term for ‘path’ or ‘road’ I would think.

Metaphorically at least, I think this word ‘way’ relates to a ‘characteristic’.

So, it would follow that you, as a parent need to train your children according to his or her individual, unique characteristics – his or her WAY. This is difficult, I know but it is the best way, the optimal way.

Day out with my children at the Opera House.

Day out with my children at the Opera House.

If you believe there is a God or higher being (whatever you call it), then, you would see my argument here, that as parents, we cannot entertain the notion that each of our children is like a lump of play-do that we can mould to our desire. They each have a significant input in to their moulding process too.

Each child already has a unique stamp. This unique stamp is given from this higher force, this God. A pre-determined pattern – stamp. It is a GOD DNA.

I love observing my children and increasing my awareness of the strengths of both of them. My daughter, for example, is quite artistic and showed the aptitude and interest in colouring and drawing and writing very early in her life. My son, on the other hand is quite innovative and mechanically inclined.

He has already been showing strong signs of ‘thinking outside the square’ since he was 2 years old.

Each child has their own ‘way’. Their own unique characteristics. Their strengths.

Have you observed the differences in your children? Perhaps you were from a home of several children. May be one of you siblings was creative, another, practical. One may have been academically intelligent; another just average or didn’t finish High School. One of your brothers may be out-going and another sibling could have been withdrawn.

This is the ‘way’ that each and every one of us is created to make you uniquely – YOU.  We didn’t just all roll out of a assembly line like the mass—produced products flooding the world every single day. We all have our own unique WAYS.

Each child, each individual is created and hand-crafted by none other than, God. But my wife and I are not alone in this department because most parents reading this would have had issues with their children as they pass through the various stages of development.

The key to survival in all areas of life is adaptation.

Zachary and Olivia with their good friend - Ruby. They just adore one another.

Zachary and Olivia with their good friend – Ruby. They just adore one another.

It is no different with the raising of children. Parents should treat this relationship, like any good, long-term relationship. You need to adapt to the ever-evolving child as he or she develops, it is a very dynamic process. Yes, your patience will be tested greatly (and you will test you child’s patience too), but always fall back on the philosophy of adaptation.

Based on what I have observed from life and what I have just said above, I think a lot of parents make 2 major mistakes in the raising of their children:

  1. Using the same parenting approach with all their children.
  2. Compare their children to other children.

These two major and serious mistakes stem from parents not making themselves more aware of each child’s uniqueness, from not knowing each child better. From not hearing what each child is ‘not saying’. From not understanding each child’s strengths and limitations.

Possible Solution: it is pivotal that all parents observe and understand the unique characteristics (strengths) in each of our children. The earlier, the better.

The acceptance of this tailor-made, handcrafter master-piece philosophy that represents each individual child can certainly make parenting more meaningful and wise. There is no ‘one-size fits all’ approach to parenting. Find a shoe that fits.

Embrace each child’s uniqueness. Take sufficient and appropriate actions to change your parenting style to facilitate the child’s way or characteristics or strengths. You need to have the courage to adapt your parenting style accordingly. It requires an attitudinal change. Watch them grow up in to the citizens of the world you imagine them to be.

At the pool with my munchkins - Zachary and Olivia. Learning the basics of swimming with me. Your children are the most important investments you will ever make in your life (for those with kids). Become aware of their strengths-their way.

At the pool with my munchkins – Zachary and Olivia. Learning the basics of swimming with me.
Your children are the most important investments you will ever make in your life (for those with kids).
Become aware of their strengths-their ways.

Pray (if you’re that way inclined) that their future is their WAY and is built on their WAYS (strengths and characteristics).

The thing is, correcting these parenting mistakes could have profound implications on your childrens’ future. Although people certainly do change over time and our personalities adapt, scientists have discovered that core personality traits are relatively stable throughout adulthood, as are our passions and interests (supports the God DNA belief).

Even more recent research is suggesting that the roots or our personality might be visible at an even younger age than was originally thought. The study revealed that a child’s observed personality at age 3 shows remarkable similarity to his or her reported personality traits/characteristics at age 26.

So, one of the responsibilities of parents is to identify the way or characteristics of each child, to find the areas where each child has greatest potential to develop strengths. Then go and do just that to realise their potential.

Deliberately tailoring parenting to each child is important because it allows each child find ‘their own unique way’. Too many people spend a lifetime headed in the wrong direction, the wrong path, the wrong way. They go not only from cradle to the cubicle, but then to the casket, without uncovering their greatest talents and potential.

This truth, unfortunately, is all too common.

So, adapt your parenting and correct the two parenting mistakes I highlighted above. Help your son or daughter find their way, based on their strengths not their weaknesses. This increases their chances of reaching their potential.

You see this regularly in sports. Great coaches of winning sports teams understand this and coaches each member of the team differently. The coach is a master at getting each team member to ‘work to his strengths’. This helps realise not only the individual’s potential but also contributes to the team’s overall effectiveness.

Change NOW to help your children NOT take the path of most resistance (working on their weaknesses and trying all their lives overcoming deficits). This is a waste of life but is the path of a great majority of people.

Just like your children, everyone has their WAY, their unique ways – what is yours? Are you working to your strengths? Why not?

Food for thought.

All the best.

Until next time,

My Unique WAY. Working to my strengths. Vv

My Unique WAY.
Working to my strengths. Are you working to yours?
Vv

 

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