These are just a few examples. I’m sure you can think of many more, like the culture of fixating on football or some other sport. TV culture is probably the worst of it and I myself am not immune to it. I was complaining about barely having enough time to do work since I gave birth but in 8 days I watched all 24 episodes of Season 1 of “The Good Wife” – yet, I have lots of educational DVDs that I have paid good money for waiting to be watched (!). I’m not perfect but I make a concerted effort to be different.
How do you think parents can break the cycle of poverty?
She would have gone home and told them that, “As hard as I practiced, everyone else practiced way harder and that’s why they beat me.” The lesson to them would have therefore been, you need to work harder than you saw mum working to progress.
My friend is living the dream, she is an inspiration to her children but the unfortunate truth is that many parents are not. Parents generally set the standard for what is acceptable and these are a few of the things kids learn in the process of being brought up:
- The best way to spend an evening is to sit and watch TV series. Did your parents do this? Do you do this? Could you break the habit and perhaps spend some evenings watching business documentaries, reading books and actually interacting with your family face to face, no phones and laptops?
- Holidays are for doing nothing. In my case, my dad told me that his father said holidays were an opportunity to do work that you don’t normally get to do and I am carrying on the family tradition.
- Weekends are for lying in. Lie in if you need to but making it habit is just a waste of time. There are many more things out there that are more fun than sleeping. Get to bed early during the week so you don’t have to spend every weekend playing “catch up”.
- Work isn’t fun – it should be avoided at all costs. Kids can really benefit from seeing you enjoy doing tasks that other people consider work. If your parents always complained about work, came home frowning, perhaps you can break that awful cycle and emphasize the elements of your job that you enjoy. I have never heard my parents complain about having to go to work or to do work, ever, and I’m only realizing that as I write this insight. Perhaps that would explain my attitude towards work. I just get on with it. My husband thinks I’m a workaholic but the truth is I just see work as a part of my life – one that I enjoy although it can get tiresome at times.
- Study and reading is for school time only. Many people leave school and never read regularly again – those that do normalize reading for their kids and those kids are likely to continue the tradition.
I was inspired to write this insight by watching a friend of mine practice for a competition, and against all the odds come out second.
She had a tough upbringing. I won’t go into the details but let’s just say that she didn’t have the most loving nor the most encouraging family and they certainly weren’t great role models for her becoming an entrepreneur. Nonetheless, become an entrepreneur she did.
Her own passion in life is to be an inspiration to her children. She doesn’t do that by telling them what to do, she just lives her life and lets them watch.
Recently, she entered a competition and was very determined to win the top award. The entry process required a lot of preparation and a lot of practice on her part. She not only had to practice but she had to run her business at the same time.
Her children watched her practice. She asked them for their feedback in the same way that she would ask anyone else that she practiced in front of. Ultimately she came 2nd out of a possible 40 individuals; a fabulous result.
I thought to myself – what would her kids have thought if she practiced so hard and still didn’t come so close to winning in the competition? Would that have made them think hard work is not worth it?
In the end, I realized I was thinking about it all wrong: the mere fact that she practiced as hard as she did for as long as she did means whatever the result, they would have been impressed by their mother’s effort and they would have empathized with her regardless.