Why do we push children so hard in the name of “Success”? What is being “Successful” anyway?

It was not until recently, that I realised I am a rather pushy parent. I home educate our two children and therefore, I believe it is my responsibly to make sure they both “Succeed” in life. I see great career possibilities in every little thing they are interested in, I jump on it like a tiger, pushing them to do more. How totally annoying it must be to have someone keep suggesting your future vocation to you when you are only seven and thirteen years old! Even, if the words are not spoken, children can feel the “What are you going to do with your future?” energy around them. This energy comes from the society we live in, it is all around us, it is how things work in the Western world.

The truth is, we have no idea what our children might choose do when they grow up. We do not even know what tomorrow will bring let alone in ten, twenty years time.

Singer/Song writer and all round wise woman, Rachel Carr-hill says, “For some people, maybe life’s purpose is not to be successful in their chosen vocation, but to bring healing to those around them by becoming more self-aware”.

Once, when I told someone my children did not go to school, they remarked in a sarcastic tone “Well, what are you going to do, just send them out into the world as “Nice” people?”. I did not respond to this statement, I did not need to. I just smiled and walked away. It is easy to get caught up with worrying about our children, whether they are in main stream education or not. Our society gives people status for “What we do” rather than “Who we are”. I am not suggesting we do not encourage and support our children’s interests just not pressure them into turning everything into a possible future career choice. I am reminded of the following words,

Do not ask your children

to strive for extraordinary lives.

Such striving may seem admirable,

but it is the way of foolishness.

Help them instead to find the wonder

and the marvel of an ordinary life.

Show them the joy of tasting

tomatoes, apples and pears.

Show them how to cry

when pets and people die.

Show them the infinite pleasure

in the touch of a hand.

And make the ordinary come alive for them.

The extraordinary will take care of itself.
― William Martin, The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents

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