Do we influence or determine our children's futures?

Do we influence or determine our children's futures?

When I ask if we influence or determine our children's futures, I'm adding the emphasis on "or". So the question is really, do we influence their futures whereby they can still choose, or do we determine their futures in which we play a leading role in deciding their careers, colleges, etc.?

I've always loved aviation. I can't remember a time when I was doing something, heard or saw an airplane, and didn't watch it in amazement. If I was born earlier, the Wright brothers and I would have been best buds. I say all of that because my mother is a nurse and I'm not a doctor. I'm an aircraft mechanic. Don't get me wrong, I love medicine and if I wasn't almost 40, I'd go for medical school. But, I'm not.... and like I said, I love aircraft. My mother never told me stories of flying, I've just always loved it. My grandfather on the other hand was also an aviation buff and told me lots of his WW2 stories; about his time in the Navy and Guadalcanal, growing up on a farm in Arkansas during the depression and becoming a rocket scientist (You can thank him for the Apollo program), and how he always wanted to fly but never took the opportunity.

I'm sure that deep down in my brain he had a large influence on my love for aviation, but I want to share this with you.

If A=B and B=C then A=C, right? Okay, that seems simple enough.

This was me as a boy...















20 years later...














So.... Using the same logic; this is my son this Christmas...



             





              Then...? 



As our children grow, are we identifying their gifts and helping them develop them or are we deciding that 'it would be nice to have a doctor in the family' and push them to this-or-that academic endeavor instead? Our youngest daughter is a tiny-little thing and has already shown outstanding promise as a cheerleader. She weighs 10 lbs less than our youngest boy who could play for just about any football team he wanted to. So, do we, as parents, foster these gifts and nurture them? What about reality? What about the fact that less than 1% of high school baseball hopefuls "go pro" when they grow up? The football jocks? Only 1.7% of college players are playing after graduation. Those facts are from +Business Insider and a 2011 +NCAA article on the same. So how about setting them up for success?

My "cheerleader" daughter? She's equally gifted for gymnastics... I was talking to another "dad" friend and had asked him if he knew of any good gymnastic gyms in the area that would prepare them for college, potentially earn her a scholarship, etc. He brought up a good point. He said that "if I saved the money every month (or invested that) I would normally pay to a gym, I'd probably be able to pay for college anyway!" So, if I paid $60 a month to a gym for my daughter to hopefully get a scholarship to a college I'd pay $7,200 over the next 10 years in membership alone, not to mention uniforms, competitions, and God knows what else! Not a bad gig but not cheap either!

So, do we influence our children's futures by identifying their gifts and allow them to develop within them or do we look at our "cheerleader" daughters and push them to be neuro-surgeons and make them work on academic programs? 
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