As a parent, many of us wonder if we’re doing the right thing. As someone with two successful children, I thought I’d share my advice for those of you bringing up the little crumb snatchers. A brief background about my kids (the same stuff I type out on dark green paper and enclose with our Christmas cards)—my daughter is a thoracic surgeon, a long-distance swimmer (she just swam from Alaska to the tip of Africa) and holds the Guinness Book of World Records for playing non-stop violin. My son is an astronaut, a Gold Medal holding javelin thrower and just invented a vaccine for Turretts.
Though my wife and I rode them like Mexican donkeys their entire life, there was one piece of advice I gave both of them, and I’ll sum it up thusly:
“Children,” I said, “you can do anything. Anything! It’s all based on motivation. You want to learn to play the flugelhorn? You want to write a book? You want to write at least one good blog someday?
Well, you can.
Because motivation is all you need.
If I, as your father, were to hold a gun to your head and demand that you learn something, well by golly you would. Why? Because you’d be motivated. You’d want to do whatever it was because your life depended upon it. Given the choice, you’d rather be successful than have a bullet pass through your brain.
So the simple piece of advice I bestowed upon my children was understood.
Motivation is the key.
Since that time, both of my children, independently of one another, took out contracts on themselves with Vinnie the Hammer. They have not looked back since. Vinnie was not cheap, but it’s not easy to be a thoracic surgeon or an astronaut, now is it?
When you see my smiling face on the cover of this month’s Parenting magazine, remember this simple piece of advice. Maybe someday your kids will be as successful as mine.
But I doubt it.