Grown-Ups Ruin Everything

In CategoryNavel Gazing

I’ve been thinking more about this after I vented a little the other day about how wary I am of getting my kids into group sports because of all the pressure to…to what, exactly? To get ahead? To win the next competition? To go pro? Always the pressure for more, better, bigger, faster. Something about it doesn’t seem healthy to me.

And then I had lunch with a friend last week, and of course we were talking about our kids. R has 3 terrific kids, and has homeschooled them from the beginning. She is a source of great encouragement to me, because her kids are almost grown and they’re  all fantastic. They are friendly, kind, not socially backward, and best of all, they are confidently the age that they are without any manufactured world-weary teenage ennui.

ANYway. She was telling me about her youngest, E, who is 17. E is the delightful teenager who used to come clean my bathrooms for me once a week (I highly recommend this if at all possible). She is also a really good amateur photographer, and she posts some pretty amazing pictures on Facebook.

We talked about one picture in particular, and then I asked if E wanted to be a photographer when she grows up.


The minute I said it, I realized that I was doing the very thing that some of the moms and dads and coaches whose kids play competitive sports do: trying to turn an interest into a vocation.

Why? Why do we do this? There is no reason to take something that a kid (or regular person, for that matter) is interested in and push them into making it something more.  More. Why do we want everything to be MORE? And don’t you think doing that can ruin the very thing that was previously loved?

If someone tried to tell me to try to make money knitting, it would ruin the whole thing. I don’t WANT knitting to be a job. I want it to be something I do for pleasure.

I do want my children to love what they choose to do for a living, of course I do. But I also need to be mindful that I don’t associate the worth of everything with money or a certain level of success. The older I get, the more I realize how much better it is to be motivated by what’s internal, by a passion. It makes me more satisfied and more confident; just plain happier in general.

And I’d like to communicate this realization to my kids so they aren’t 40 by the time they figure it out. The question is, how do I go about it?