Once you become a parent, you’ve got 18 years (at least) ahead of you to take a child from a newborn, to a fully-independent and self-reliant adult. Have you thought about what your own goals are with respect to your children?
One of my favorite portions of the precept Love and Help Children in L. Ron Hubbard‘s book The Way to Happiness is:
“One has to make up his mind what he is trying to get the child to become: this is modified by several things: (a) what the child basically can become due to inherent make-up and potential; (b) what the child really wants to become; (c) what one wants the child to become; (d) the resources available. But remember that whatever these all add up to, the child will not survive well unless he or she eventually becomes self-reliant and very moral. Otherwise the end product is likely to be a liability to everyone including the child.”
– L. Ron Hubbard
This subject deserves some thought for anyone who is either a parent or who cares for children. What is it that you are trying to get a child to become? Do you have any fixed ideas as to what you want them to be, ones which would define whether or not you think you’ve “succeeded” as a parent? How much does your own bias influence what you want them to do or pursue in life? What resources are you making available so they can choose a career or path of study that interests and excites them?
But more important, what are you doing to ensure they’ll be moral and self-reliant?
It’s food for thought, and something that I think has an answer as varied as the parents and their children, but one that I think is important to consider. If one just lets kids grow up “however they will” and do whatever they want, you’re not really assured any measure of success in your endeavors as a parent.