Be Like Barack


So today I had the chance to meet a young woman while I was out at lunch with my Mom and my brother. We were enjoying ourselves and this young woman was polite, efficient, and good all around, at her job. After we finished lunch and she brought us the bill, we started chatting. She told us that she was almost finished with college, that she was deciding what direction to take next and was wrestling with the fact that her family had a business and her Dad wanted her to join in and perhaps take it over. She is contemplating this option, but although she likes the idea of running a business and is flattered that her Dad considers her competent and able, she has her own plan, plan B. She wants to own her own business, but her vision is to own and operate a salon, a nail and hair salon. That is what she wants to do and so now is trying to decide what path to take.

I also know a young professional woman in the film industry. Her dream is to make films, specifically documentary films that provide insight and knowledge about topics she is passionate about. Her new film just debuted at an Asian film festival where she received the great honor of being awarded the prize for best documentary. We congratulated her with much enthusiasm and told her how excited we were for her and how proud she must be! The note she sent back to us was warm and appreciative, but perhaps a bit melancholy because she shared that she has had to convince her Dad that art is an important career path to take.

This morning I was at the school where I work. Lots of us that are there have been there a long time, and so we all know about each others families and where all of our respective children are at, both physically and in their own development! One of my colleagues was asking me how our youngest son is. She knows that he is about to graduate from college. I shared with her that he is well, and excited about his new path. He is a film student. He is making his own first film shorts. He is contacting people in the industry that he has interned for and beginning the process of finding his way professionally. His job path is not as clear cut as business, or other professions and my colleague commented on this. As my conversation with her was coming to a close, she said, "Wow! Hope he can get a job"!

Perhaps I tend to look at the world as a place where all is possible, and that with the right training, attitude and hard work we can find our way at whatever we set our mind to! My response to her was not to worry, I have and always have had every confidence in my son's ability to succeed in the profession of his choice.

I don't say any of this to judge, but I do share these stories as a precaution. As parents our job is to fill our children's buckets up to overflowing! Give them the positive messages and demonstrate through actions we take, that we know they are able and capable and can achieve anything, and find their way along any path they choose.

I had a parent a few years back share with me her observations about my family and the type of parenting practices we have chosen. She worked with 2 of my children when they were in middle school. She shared that although many parents say their children can do and be anything they want, she doesn't, in fact, see that message being delivered through the messages that are given to these children. That is the hard part. She complemented my husband and myself on actually giving our children the message that they can do and be anything they choose through what we say and through what we do. I am not trying to say, by any means, that I have all the answers and that my husband and I are parenting gurus...we have had enough snafus along the way! What I am saying, is that our children need us, as their parents, to be their biggest fans and cheerleaders and coaches. I argue that in order for children to truly find their own path well, we need to tell them they can, is the tricky part...BELIEVE IT!

Here is what I think. I think that our children can be and do whatever their minds can conceive. Our job is to help them know that, buy it and act upon it. Our job as parents is to provide the fertile ground for our kids. An environment that is filled up with positive messages, encouragement, and support. A place where their "buckets" are filled to overflowing. A place where the constant message they hear is "Yes, you can!"

So, be like Barack. Say "Yes you can!" over and over and over until your kids believe it.

Who knows, maybe one day one of your kids will be President, and deliver a sweeping Health Care Reform Bill!

Until next time,