I’ve thought about this a lot over the years. I have so many things that I would do differently if I had my life to live over again. Yet…would I be the person I am today if I changed those things? Was I (or my parents in many cases) wrong to take the approach that I/we did?
The answer to those to questions are not necessarily and no, respectively.
I want to encourage my son’s interests regardless of how I feel about them. I am hoping he has no interest in hockey, but if he decides he wants to play, I’m going to let him try it out. You never know where someone will find their passion in life. If he decides his interests lie in more geeky endeavors, I will mentally jump for joy and then encourage him just as much.
Some of the things I’d do differently revolve around money - or the lack thereof. I paid for large chunks of my university fees. I knew my parents couldn’t foot the bill entirely and I was okay with that. I worked very hard for the two years I attended university, working nearly full-time for most of my second year. It was hard, but I was young and full of the kind of energy that can handle the load.
I hope my son doesn’t have to work as hard as I did, but I don’t want it to be at the cost of him knowing the value of what he’s getting. That’s a delicate balance to achieve.
The greatest thing I want to be different for my son is an openness to the possibilities in life. I have a personality that has always been so focused on steps. This first, then that. I hope to teach Brandon that there’s more than one way to do things. College/university don’t have to come right after high school. (Who’s idea was it to make 18-year-olds decide what they want to do for life anyway?) A career doesn’t have to be an office job or a profession and it definitely doesn’t have to be about money - though paying the bills is important.
I think we’re in an age of raising a generation that has no choice but to be different. They’re learning and experiencing things at very young ages that we couldn’t even fathom when we were that age. Nor could our parents. I think the best thing that parents can do is keep an open mind to what’s going on. Look for the advantages to every new situation. Find the adventure and go for it with your child(ren).