Wednesday, April 12, 2006

You know what you can't do, but what can you do?

"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."
- John Wooden

As children we are taught, effectively but not consciously, to focus more on our weaknesses, on our mistakes, on our limitations than on our strengths.

The very people who want most for us to succeed in life, to be happy, to raise a family, to get a good job we enjoy and to participate in community events that serve our neighbours as well as ourselves, spend more time reminding us of what we can't or shouldn't do than what we can and should.

No one is born doing anything well, other than to suck and to cry. Each of us has something we can do exceedingly well.

We just don't find out what that is unless we are exposed to it, are given time to warm up to it and are encouraged to pursue it if we like it. That takes effort and time.

We need constant (regular) support, especially from our parents, to learn what we do well so that we can gain some expertise in that field, hobby or sport. That support doesn't happen naturally. It must be done overtly so that children know it is taking place.

It goes without saying (yet here I am saying it) that parents should not push their kids to become experts at something just because they missed out on it themselves. That's a prescription for failure, maybe emotional disaster, maybe a family rift.

Parents must help their children understand limitations, their personal ones, legal ones, moral ones, ethical ones, social ones, physical ones and so on. They also must fulfill the other side of that obligation by helping their kids to find what they do well and what they enjoy doing.

Life is about balance. That balance is not two ways, but many different ways at once. The important thing is not to be perfect, but to give it the best try possible.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to show everyone how balance produces a fulfilling life.
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