It is not difficult to look around and see parents trying to live out their thwarted dreams through their children. In fact it is so frequent and so common that I can’t give some examples because they are so close to home. I have even done it myself trying to make up for my husband (he was a farmer and also ran a dairy) not doing “father-son things” with our son. I was a dramatic failure at most of those things. It was almost as if the “cosmos” knew what I was trying to do and was working against me. The stories are “funny” now but not when they happened. They could have made for a situation comedy.
Remember my recent post on this website, “Weeds Versus Flowers”. This gives some background for why this is a problem. I think we all have a purpose in this life and no one person’s purpose is exactly like another’s and no matter how much we admire a person and want to emulate them we can’t as our life experiences and inborn abilities are not exactly the same.
I greatly admire Joyce Meyers; a Christian author and speaker; yet, I probably would not be happy doing exactly what she does and has done to get to where she is . I have learned that as a psychologist. I admired some of my professors. I thought I wanted to emulate them; but I found some of the work boring and unsatisfying and some of the theoretical thinking rather narrow minded. (Yes, I’ve always been very competitive.)
Then when I became acquainted with some of the great therapists, I felt doomed to fail because no matter how much I read and studied about them, I couldn’t get “it”, whatever it was they had. All along the way I (to some extent) ignored what I had to give and enjoyed doing and that I had had some experiences which taught me something which is where I am at today. I once toilet trained a young boy by playing miniature basket ball with him in play therapy.
Back to the subject of raising children to fulfill their life purpose and to use their life experiences as learning experiences while also using their own inborn talents. Many parents did not get to do this themselves and have tried to make up for this by using their children to do this. Either they push experiences on them that are not appropriate for that particular child or they discover some natural talents that their children have and try to develop them so that they ( the parent) can bask in the limelight or reflected glory of their successful children.
You must nurture your child like the particular and special “flower” that they are requiring different amounts of “moisture”, “soil”, “sunshine”, and fertilizer from other plants. Even if they seem to be very similar to you as a child and seem to have the same gifts, no one is exactly the same. Check your DNA!
And you must also continue to nurture yourself as an adult and make sure you get what you need to thrive and be “YOU”. What do “empty nesters” do after their children are gone? (Oops, I know, take care of their elderly parents. But that’s a topic for another post.)