Kids need to see what it takes to be an adult
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As a kid, your parents are epic. They can do anything. Then you get older and you enter your question everything phase. Suddenly, your parents are clueless. As you mature into adulthood, you begin to appreciate their help in navigating the treacherous waters in which you find yourself. It is when you officially become a grown up, however, that you fully understand what their life was like.
I don't just mean paying bills, raising kids, going to work and all the other mundane tasks that go into running a household. I mean all the stuff they did for themselves that we, their kids, never saw. The hobbies they loved. The challenges they faced and overcame. The goals they set and met. The flaws they fought and the assets they emphasized. We come to see that they were more than our parents. They were whole people with lives and dreams and insecurities that had nothing to do with us.
When you become a parent, it is so easy to become consumed by that role. Everything you do, every decision you make becomes filtered through that lens. Your life can get shackled to the trials and tribulations of your child. So much so that it can warp your self perception. You can forget that just because there are little people in this world who look up to you and count on you, that it doesn't mean you have to appear perfect to them.
When you go to a circus or stunt show, they always give you the warning about trying what you see at home. These are trained professionals who have clocked hundreds, maybe thousands, of hours practicing what to us looks effortless.
No one is a trained professional being an adult. While there may be parts of it that can feel like a breeze, much of it takes effort. It takes trial and error. It takes determination and planning and time and fortitude.
Our children need to see that. They need to see the struggle and fight it takes to live the life you choose.
They need to see us chase our dream. How else will they learn to chase theirs? They need to see us fall short sometimes and still strive for that which makes our heart sing.
They need to see us set goals for ourselves. How else will they learn to reach beyond expectations? They need to see us reach our personal summits and then look for new mountains to climb.
They need to see us try and fail and get back up to try again. They need to see us put in the work to better ourselves. They need to know that we have hopes and dreams worth our time and attention. In essence, we need to let them look behind the curtain sometimes to see how the magic they love and trust happens.
Most parents and caretakers see their job as being protector, provider and teacher. We forget that sometimes the best way to fulfill those roles is to just be ourselves and pursue our lives in whatever fashion that takes us. Trips, falls, wrong turns and all.
We want to be a shining example for our children. Sometimes the best example we can offer is just a healthy dose of reality. We want our children to see us as superheroes. Sometimes they need to see us as mere mortals. We want to appear polished and on top of our game. Sometimes we need to let them see the practice it took to get there.
- Mariel Blake writes a weekly column for The Daily News.