I was watching shark tank last night, and this guy came in with a fitness idea that combined a lot of different music styles. When he shared his background story, he said that him and his wife were homeless when they came up with this idea and he also shared that his father was the founder of tae bo, which is the largest selling fitness DVD.
This was such a shocker considering how rich his dad must be, how they could be homeless and come on shark tank while the dad has all that money, and influence and clout.
It raised the question of parenting, how far should parents go in trying to teach their children how to work hard and make their own living. Where does the parenting end and humanity begin?
It was so sad, because you could tell that the guy was hard working guy who has worked hard to create this and is working hard to push it and make it grow. Principals he probably learnt from his father. But why would his father let him suffer to the point where he was homeless.
Parents do the best they can with very little knowledge, its every parents wish and hope that their child grows up to be independent, productive member of society and I believe most parents want more for their children than they have, we want them to move a step further than we were capable of, it’s not always realistic and it’s not always the case but how far should we go in teaching.
Of course there is also the other end of the spectrum, where parents become crutches and obstacles to the development and independence of their children. I once watched the show ‘intervention where people try to help addicts, and on one of this episodes there was a mum who decided to become homeless and live on the streets with her son, so that she could make sure he was safe. Of course in her mind this was because she loved her son.
So how do we learn the balance, how to do help without inhibiting, how to we support without crippling, how do we enhance and encourage the use of gifts and talents our children may have without hindering their own natural growth.
It is such a difficult and complex topic; that is why so many researchers have tried to figure out the right way to parent, there so many different parenting styles and philosophies each with its own merits and they all promise to produce the most well rounded individual. I don’t think there is a topic with more books, articles, documentaries, lectures about it than parenting. At the same time we have people looking at themselves and saying, hey I turned out just fine so I will follow the parenting style that was used on me.
It really baffles me every day, how siblings who grow up in the same environment, same parents, can turn out so different from each other, one could be a murderer and the other a nun. Should we parent each child with their own unique style, or are people preordained to turn out like they do.
I could go on and on about this topic, but parenting is the world’s greatest paradox. We have been doing it for millions and millions of years and we still haven’t figured it out.