I had an interesting conversation the other day with my friend, Jen. We were discussing the fact that, in our generation, many kids knew their parents loved them, were happy for their pursuits, and yet did little beyond observing what each child was becoming. She nailed it when she stated, “My interests were noted, but not particularly nurtured.”
That, in a nutshell, describes the child development philosophy of a generation of parents. We grew up well enough. We’ve become productive people. We are responsible. Yet, there is feeling deep within that a little guidance in the early years could have averted a few catastrophes and decreased the number of things we had to learn the hard way. A little encouragement at the right time could have kept us on a path that might have profoundly enriched our life.
My purpose isn’t to criticize the past, but to encourage our generation of parents to positively impact our kids’ future. It is important that we do more than pay attention. Our kids need a proactive parent, whose wisdom and experience serve not only as a guide, but also as a beacon. Our kids may be brilliant, but they are unable to see long-term ramifications of decisions or know how to move forward with their dreams. If you want to truly nurture instead of just notice, ask yourself some questions:
- Am I giving my child enough time and space to develop meaningful pursuits (rather than chasing anything that might look impressive)? This might mean some radical pruning of the calendar.
- Am I helping them discover how they are hardwired? Check out Do What You Are by Paul Tieger.
- Am I encouraging them to stay the course until they develop enough proficiency to enjoy the activity or class? Things that come to mind are math, music practice, or programming.
- Am I inviting them to flourish in the things they love?
- Am I stretching them with things they don’t like or aren’t good at, but need to master anyway?
- Am I helping them explore areas they are considering as a career?
Interested in learning more? This site houses archives that discuss being a parent who notices AND nurtures!
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