If I asked you what you’re doing to make the future better and brighter, what would you say? You have a retirement account? Saving up for a rainy day? Perhaps you’re helping the environment by going green or planting trees. Whatever the case may be, the actions we take today will affect tomorrow. Yesterday is over and there is no point in worrying about what has been done so turn those mistakes into lessons and learn from them. The most important day in your life is TODAY. What you do today has an outcome on the rest of your life from here on out.
So I wanted to talk about one of our most underappreciated resources for the future: our children.
As I stated before, the actions we take today depict our future, and children are our future. They will be the ones that are left behind with everything we have created or destroyed for them, they will deal with the pollution, wars, corruption, and depletion of resources, and they will be the ones paying the ultimate price for the actions we take today.
I love a particular quote in That Parent’s Tao Te Ching by William Martin:
“Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is a 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.”
The fact remains that with the fast-paced and busy world, with a majority of people unsure about the future, children are the ones who suffer. At this point in my life, all of my friends are getting married and having children while I’m still here working towards my dream. Don’t get me wrong, children are great and I would love to have some eventually but a majority of mothers and fathers go back to work within the first month of having a child, whereas the first few years are the most crucial for a child’s development. Granted, politics come into play depending on where you live. The United States does not guarantee any maternity or paternity leave whereas Sweden gives you 420 days of maternity leave while receiving 80% of your wage.
These are the moments in a child’s life where they want to and will learn everything. You owe it to them to spend it with them. Luckily for us entrepreneurs, it is possible. We set our own hours to match with our environment. We are able to take time off for our families. And we love doing it. The earlier you start working towards your legacy, the earlier you will be able to make money without working. We want the best for our children and what they need most of is our time. If you haven’t read The Mantra, go ahead and do that now because it applies to children as well.
If you live based on these three principles, your children will be led by example. Encourage them to do what they love to do. The only problem for you will be that they will not love just one thing. Let them do what they want (to an extent) and don’t force them to do anything they don’t need to do. In our educational system, children are expected to sit still for hours at a time and if they are too active, they are diagnosed with a learning disorder. Children need to run and play. They want to do what their hearts desire because that’s all they know, and they know how to get it.
After all, children and entrepreneurs are very similar.
We believe anything is possible. We see opportunity when others see impossibility. We take risks. We focus. We hustle. We know that nothing is unrealistic. We feel overwhelming love. We embrace our childlike wonder and curiosity. We take flying leaps into the unknown. We contribute to something bigger than ourselves. We create. We learn. We grow. We do. We believe that it’s never too late to start living a dream.
Doesn’t sound so ridiculous now does it? We’re not too different. So how can you love children to encourage them to live life to the fullest, and in turn, be better people?
- Be there for them.
- Say YES as often as you can.
- Let them bang on pots and pans.
- If they’re cranky, put them in water.
- Read books out loud with joy.
- Go find elephants and pet them.
- Encourage being silly.
- Laugh alot.
- Remember how truly small they are.
- Always look out for the positive.
- Teach feelings.
- Realize how important it is to be a child.
- Build a spaceship together.
- Stop yelling.
- Invent pleasures together.
- Surprise them.
- And last but not least, express your love. A lot.
Remember, children are our future and they are miraculous. What could mean nothing to you could have a life changing experience for them. So make sure that they’re positive ones.