What do you want for your son? No matter what age he is, you must wonder what he’ll do or be when he’s older.
You want the best for him.
But what does that even look like? Financial security? Education? Stable relationships?
It’s impossible to determine the future. That doesn’t stop you worrying about it though does it? All these unanswered question and only the inexorable march of time will give you the answers you want:
What will bore him?
What will interest him?
What will you constantly disagree over?
And the most loaded of all: What will he be when he grows up……?
Pushy Dads – Are they Committed or Mentally Unfulfilled?
The phrase ‘pushy parents’ is all to familiar. Maybe you know a set of parents who are pushy. Maybe you are a pushy Dad yourself…
Is it a bad thing to be pushy?
The year is 1920. The father of a young London man wants his son to study medicine and become a doctor. The son couldn’t think of anything he’d rather NOT do. But instead of confronting his father, he followed his next option.
He ran away.
To Northern Canada.
Living in a wagon in the wilds for several months he eventually returned home to tell his father he didn’t want to be a physician. Instead he began to study what he’d always wanted: optometry.
This young man was my grandfather.
I recently read an interview with the father of British Olympic cyclist Chris Hoy. He spoke of the sacrifices he made to allow his son to be a success.
That included driving all weekend and sleeping in the back of a van so Hoy could attend competitions and meets while still at school.
A recent news report announced that assaults on football referees were up. At pee-wee leagues!
Irate fathers physically attack other men because they disagree with their refereeing decisions. Maybe they’re angry at the impact these decisions could have on their sons’ future careers as the next Wayne Rooney.
There is (clearly) a fine line between commitment to your son’s future and personal and emotional instability.
Did my great-grandfather want what was best for his son? Probably.
Where did I get this sense of the world truly being my oyster? From my father of course!
I have a father who has been supportive of me through every decision I’ve made – good or bad. I knew from a very young age that I could do what I wanted with my life and he’d be proud.
Privileged? More like blessed.
The great thing about the Field of Dreams? There are still things that I can and will achieve in there. In fact, I’m only just getting started.
Doing things like driving the Trans-African highway with a stick in my trunk to fight off baboons has been great. But I’m always looking for a new challenge and a new experience.
That Field has been one of realised dreams.
Which helps clarify what I really want for my son’s future…
What do I Want for my Son?
Maybe it’s easier to start with what I don’t want:
I don’t want him to grow up thinking that he has to follow a certain path in life.
I don’t want him to go to University ‘just because that’s what everyone else is doing’.
I mustn’t project my failures and anxieties onto him. Instead I’ll leave him to make his own mistakes and experience a bit of life’s rough and tumble.
I do want him to know that whatever he does and whatever path he chooses, I will be there for him to help and support him if he needs it. Or leave him alone if he needs that too.
I also want him to have financial freedom so that money will never be something he worries about. But he should also be raised understanding the value of money and how to use it wisely and for good.
That’s my job as a Dad to teach him these things.
I also want him to experience the Field of Dreams – that he would see his life as an open expanse of possibilities that he can grasp. Or not. That’s up to him.
Project your Positive Life Experiences on to Your Son
When I look back at my life till now (I’m 32), I don’t have many, if any regrets.
That’s because when opportunities have arisen, I’ve gone for it and seen it through too.
6 months ago I decided I would start a blog. I even wrote it down in my notebook: ‘Start blog/website for Dads’.
Right now it’s going great. I have an engaged audience and plenty to write about. If, for some reason, it hadn’t worked out then at least I tried.
No regrets, right?
When you live with no regrets, you don’t have insecurities and inadequacies to pass on to your son. Your mindset is one of abundance and possibilities. That’s what you project on to him. That’s what my father projected to me and I’m still reaping the benefits.
So what is the right answer to the original question: What do you want for your son?
Answer: For him to do and achieve all that will make him happy, contented and complete.