Today, allow me to share my experience of being a parent with you. It’s not necessarily going to be the right to do for all, but it is just right for my small family. Come walk with me down memory lane….
When our babies were born, we became their teachers, besides being parents. We showed them what to do and hope that they would copy/imitate our actions, learning basic skills from putting food into their mouths, sit, walk, how to hold a pencil, button their shirts, tie their shoelaces, etc.
Fast forward a few years – we then became their personal managers, making sure that they went to the “right” schools, selecting the “right” tutors, learning the right skills and the list went on. Out of the blue (yup, till today, I’m still amazed at the speed of their growth!!), they were tweens (I was told that tween = 8 to 12 years old). We decided to be their role models by being a Leader to them. We learned that to lead, as opposed to manage, would produce better results. Hopefully, they would learn some leadership skills along the way.
Then, one fine day, we got up from the bed and realised that they have become teenagers! The once unabashed, chatty kid becomes quieter, self-conscious and surrounded by loud music, interspersed with occasional moods swing. Hey, it’s not easy having to deal with pimples amongst other stuffs, okay? Is being a Leader still applicable at this age? Maybe yes, maybe no. Depends.
IMHO, being a Coach to my teenage son would be more appropriate now. I am not a sportswoman but what follows is from my observation of my son’s bowling coach. If I understand a Sports Coach well, he would not tell us what to do before every step we take. He would show us how to get the results that we want, taking into consideration our strengths and weaknesses. We all have differences. Then, he’ll stand at the side, observing the actions, while occasionally points out where we have gone wrong to make necessary adjustments. At times, he also provides space for us to explore issues on our own, trusting that we could make our own judgement. He would be there if we need him.
Having said that, being my son’s life coach, I give support and motivation to encourage him to explore his potentials. We will sit down to work out priorities, identify potentials and limitations before coming to a decision on the next course of action. He will have to make the choice. I shall provide relevant information and tools to help him make that informed decision. I shall help him navigate but he is The Captain of his own ship. I do not want him to be afraid of failing. I want him to know and understand that making mistakes in life is normal. What is most important is we must learn from the mistake and move forward.
That is my journey with my growing children. I am still exploring and learning from other parents. Boy, do I have a lot more to learn! Life is indeed challenging and having children only makes it better and more interesting, don’t you think so?
Think for a moment,- are you a Manager, Leader or a Coach to your children? How does it work for you and your junior(s)?
Wishing all a wonderful and relaxing weekend 🙂