Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Questions, and More Annoying Questions

I love my youngest. But she's annoying me with questions lately.

"What do you think I'll be when I grow up?"

"Do you think I'll be a good singer when I grow up?"

"What do you think I'll look like when I grow up?"

"Do you think I'll be a good driver when I grow up?"

Seriously -- what's the sudden obsession with her future? Why does she suddenly have this desperate need to know all this information, and what makes her think I can meet that need for her?

I hate these kinds of questions, especially out of the blue when I'm in the middle of something else that is requiring my concentration. But really, I don't enjoy them anytime, because I have a real thing about being completely honest with my kids. I don't see how it does any good to tell my 9-year-old that she'll be a great singer someday if I don't believe that, or if I honestly have no earthly idea. Don't preach at me about "self-esteem". Self-esteem comes from recognized competence, not from artificial praise. Telling a kid she has competence where she doesn't either gives her a warped perception of herself or teaches her that Mommy lies to spare her feelings.

I prefer to actively look for the areas where she's gifted and where she's putting forth a lot of effort and give her genuine kudos where they're deserved. She's funny. She's generous. She's a good story-writer -- she has a great ear for dialogue. She almost always 'fesses up to things she's done wrong, even if it's a while after the fact. I keep telling her to not worry about what she's going to be when she grows up. She should spend her energy looking for what her natural abilities are, developing self-discipline and good work habits, and exploring everything in her world to find where her passions lie. When it's time, God will open up job opportunities that fit these characteristics.

So, what did I tell her about her future driving prowess? "Well, driving takes a lot of focus and concentration -- you can't let yourself get distracted. I expect you're going to improve in those areas a lot as you grow up, and if you do, you'll be a fine driver."

The truth with love. Right?


And by the way, it's a safe bet she'll look a lot like me when she grows up. Poor thing. :)


Keith said...

Well, I have to say I can't disagree more with you on this one. I love talking with Leslie and Eastin about those kinds of questions. I kinda view it as permission to dream with them. I like thinking about those questions with them. As long as we don't direct them down a specific path and let them make the choices I think it's helpful and fun.

I much prefer those questions to "Daddy, can we watch Zack and Cody??" or "Daddy, do we HAVE to take a bath??"

And as for your last comment. I think if the girls look like their mommy they'll look mighty fine! ;)

GJK said...

This is why our kids have two parents. :)

Anonymous said...

That's also why you don't marry someone just like you.

victoria said...

uh yeah, well Eastin driving can seem a little scary!! Kind of reminds me of my friend Meredith who usually hits something that isn't moving!! Luckily the impact of that isn't so great. ha!
Aunt V