What We Owe Our Children


THIS ARTICLE ENTITLED, “WHAT WE OWE OUR CHILDREN” IS BY DR.SHANNI DOVER

 

 

Hello again, Dear Reader. For this week’s installment I will discuss what we owe our children. This topic was spurred by a brief conversation with a friend which made me wonder what “shoulds, oughts and musts” we might all have in our baggage. As previously discussed here on DWW, these imperatives we tell ourselves may not be rational. Therefore, the things we decide we “should, ought or must” do can conflict with a larger reality.  Let’s take a closer look!

 

 

Irrational Beliefs:

Our irrational thoughts and beliefs can sometimes overwhelm us. We tell ourselves things that we typically have been indoctrinated to believe. As we cannot transcend our culture, these beliefs can wreak havoc in our lives.

However, this convoluted system of do’s and don’ts can be manipulated by our actions. These actions can alter our ideas of “right and wrong” thereby perhaps changing our ideas about what we owe our children.

With higher education, our advanced degrees and our life experiences go hand in hand to create our worlds. With focus on flexibility during adversity, tolerance for ambiguity can be improved over time. This offers the individual the opportunity to grow beyond their inculcated belief systems, including thoughts regarding what we owe our children. And yes, although we cannot truly transcend our culture, we can certainly remove some of the blinders from our eyes and see another perspective.

 

drawing showing negativity and rumination

 

 

Our Demands:

Our demands upon ourselves and our lives can be enormous. We struggle through life’s many changes, often feeling as if we are starving for air. Furthermore, the demands others impose on us can muddy the waters even more. What we owe our children can become obscured in the mire.

 

When we take stock of our value system, we can perhaps get a better idea of what beliefs are actually a good fit for us. In fact, our values shape what demands we impose on ourselves and others.

When we become parents, we typically model parental values and behaviors. We impose these beliefs over the larger reality we meet in life. We look for congruence between what our parents taught us through example, and what we are learning in our lifetime. We can begin to see areas in which we differ immensely from our parents. When we can see these differences, we begin to create our own system of values.

 

Our Legacy:

We can certainly understand how ideas are shaped regarding what we owe our children. We could likely survey thousands and each response may be different. Responses would be according to our culture and corresponding values.

 

Ultimately, what we owe our children is an ill-defined problem/issue. This means that there is no “right or wrong” answer. There is no algorithm or heuristic to turn to for the solution. Therefore, we as human beings often fall back on our indoctrinated belief systems instilled by our family and our culture. That being said, some would say that we owe them some type of inheritance, typically monies and/or property that translates into money. This is certainly not uncommon.

I propose that,  given there is no right or wrong answer, we as individuals can determine what we owe our children. And we don’t have to rely on indoctrinated values; instead, we can be observers in the world and learn from the example of others. Yes, those others will also have indoctrinated beliefs; however, if we take a global perspective, we will then be subject to a plethora of cultural differences that can serve to enlighten and expand our minds.

 

Before I conclude, I will now humbly present my personal thoughts about what we owe our children; the legacy left behind. Primarily, I believe what we owe our children is our love. Sure. But what does that love equate to, in other words, how do we quantify this legacy of love?

I believe that a legacy of love involves sharing our attention and time. Our time is our life’s-blood. By offering our time and attention, we are truly giving of ourselves. When we are present, and actively teaching along the way, we are giving a gift far greater than the material. We are sharing part of ourselves, our little spots of wisdom we have accumulated. Whether far or near, every day we can offer our children some bit of comfort or knowledge that can serve them in the future.

 

Beyond that, I believe what we owe our children is the right to fail. Adversity is a tremendous teacher. When given the opportunity, human beings can very often “rise to the occasion” and grow well beyond all expectations. As the quote goes, “Life is an occasion, rise to it!”

Allowing our children to struggle to some degree, but being there as a support, can be the exact perturbation discussed by Piaget regarding intellectual development. These perturbations can forge us into smarter, stronger and more compassionate individuals. This is what we need in the world.

 

I could go on and on, but I will end this discussion here, Dear Reader. As always, please feel free to leave comments and/or questions below in “Join the discussion”… I look throughout the week for your thoughts. Until next time, stay safe and healthy. Cheers!

 

 

THIS ARTICLE ENTITLED, “WHAT WE OWE OUR CHILDREN” IS BY DR.SHANNI DOVER

 

 

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Samantha Leboeuf
2 months ago

WOW, MY DEAR FRIEND, THIS ARTICLE REALLY MADE ME THINK. MY DAUGHTER WAS HERE OVER THE WEEKEND AND I WISH I HAD READ THIS PRIOR TO SEEING HER AND HER FAMILY. LOVE YOU BUNCHES, SAMANTHA

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