When I was 16, I told my parents I would be a millionaire by the time I was 23. Not sure where I got that age from, but needless to say, it didn’t happen. I moved on to Plan B.
Point is, it’s rare that life works out as we plan it. As adults, we can accept that and move on. The alternative is to live a life of perpetual disappointment. Kids see the world differently. They see one shot at happiness, and are devastated when anything goes awry.
As a parent, I’d like to see my kids get rise above this narrow point of view, and see the big picture: life is full of choices, and many paths. Most of them lead to contentment, we just need to be patient and see what’s around the next unexpected corner.
In other words, I want to see my kids embrace and accept Plan B. I don’t want to see them fail. But more importantly, I don’t want to see them stop striving for something more.
How do we get our kids to be flexible and accepting of change? It’s not a natural human tendency. It’s painful to experience disappointment. Every kid feels it, and every parent endures that pain vicariously.
I think, as a parent, I should invite opportunities for disappointment. I know, this makes me sound like a bad Dad, but bear with me: It is only through experiencing the heartache of broken dreams, and picking up and moving on, that my kids will realize that life is full of Plan B, and this is perfectly fine. Dreaming is good, and diversity in dreams is better. What’s important is that we keep moving forward, knowing that eventually we’ll find purchase on fertile soil.
We encourage our kids to dream big. “What do you want to do?” we ask. A wise parent follows that up with, “How are you going to get there?” An sympathetic parent concludes with, “How can I help you get there?”
An experienced Plan B parent is standing at the ready with, “I’m so sorry, what are your going to do now?
Are you helping your kids strive to achieve glory in Plan B?