Purposeful Parenting Tip: You and your child were created uniquely and perfectly. Don’t waste your time trying to be like someone else.
“It’s perfect!” “It’s just what I wanted!” Those are the words we want to hear after we give a friend or loved one a gift. We spend a lot of time picking out something we know they will enjoy and love. We would never think to give a gift that wasn’t ideally matched to the person we’re giving it to, right? So then why do we discount our own gifts which have been perfectly chosen for us?
I would love to be a singer. I enjoy singing – always have. Whether it was church hymns or the latest pop song on the radio or even humming one of the classical pieces I used to play on the piano. Every once in a while I see a singing class in my local Adult Ed program catalog and have an urge to enroll. But I never have.
I doubt that I have a gift for singing. Yes, I enjoy it. Yes, I feel happy when I sing, but does that mean that it’s my purpose in life? Not likely.
Many years ago, I took a chance and recorded myself singing. While not bad, there were clearly areas where I was ‘pitchy’ as they say on American Idol. Does that mean I should never sing again? No. It just means that I should not expect to be the next Whitney Houston.
In conversations with friends and fellow mompreneurs, it is inevitable that I will hear one of the following statements:
“I wish I was athletic like Mary.”
“I wish I could entertain like Jane.”
“I wish I could be a stay-at-home-mom like Grace.”
“I wish I could speak in front of people like Susan.”
“I wish”…fill in the blank.
I’m guilty of this as well. I wish I was 5’7. I wish I could wear skinny jeans. I wish I had the success some of my more experienced mompreneur friends do. I wish I could decorate a house without having to call a designer. I wish I could cook like Ina Garten. (Ok, not really. I just want Ina Garten to cook for me!)
I can continue to wish for all of these things but where does this get me? I was not blessed with these gifts. They are not meant for me. I am 5’3 and it’s not likely that will change. I have short legs and my good friend and stylist, Scarlett DeBease would not recommend skinny jeans for me. Just like you would not buy your best friend a bottle of expensive perfume when you know she never wears perfume, why would you want gifts and talents that are not meant for you and that you would struggle with using?
If the person who is gifted to be a doctor ignores that gift and instead decides to paint houses, then the world will never be the beneficiary of his care and who knows – a potential cure for cancer. If the dancer discards her innate talent to dance, audiences will never be entertained, possibly inspired by her grace and beauty. If a parent forces a child to follow a path not intended for them, both the child and the parent will be miserable.
When you give a gift, you want the recipient to use it. Why? Because it was chosen specifically for them. Likewise, we need to use the gifts and talents we have been born with. And we need to use them to the best of our ability.
Beware of diminishing your gifts or worse, ignoring them totally. They were given to you for a reason. They were given to you so that you could shine your light in the world – not someone else’s light. They were given to you so that you could change someone’s life for the better because of your presence.
Let the doctor be the doctor. You be the best mom ever or best yoga teacher or best writer. Stop wishing you were someone else. You don’t know the struggles and challenges that other person has underneath their supposed ‘success’. You have no idea what they go through. Best to stick to your own talents and do the best you can with them.
You were designed specifically to work your own gift, not that of someone else. Don’t hide your light and don’t let your child hide theirs either. Maybe they do want to be a businessperson like you, but maybe they want to be a professional athlete. Their gifts are theirs and theirs alone. It is your job to make sure they take those gifts and share them with the world. That is their purpose.
This is the key to real peace and joy – when we are using the gifts and talents we were created with to serve the world.
“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” Oscar Wilde