4 minutes reading time (701 words)

Saturday Musings - The Getting of Wisdom

Saturday Musings - The Getting of Wisdom

I’ve been a parent for over a couple of decades now and during this time I’ve learned a few things about bringing up our children. The biggest challenge that I had to overcome within myself is to let my kids fail.

Since my own children were born, all I wanted to do was protect them from whatever may happen. Be that a stubbed toe, bullies at school or what they watch on television. A switch went off in my head that said, “I need to shield my kids from anything that can harm them.”

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The problem was that as the years went by I found that I couldn’t and shouldn’t protect them from everything. In order for them to grow up into adults of character they needed to experience the consequences of their actions and not be constantly protected by Mum and Dad.

For example, when our kids were little they would be fascinated by fire. I would tell them not to touch it and they wouldn’t because it would burn them. If my 21 year old son picked up a burning stick then I’d now tell him he was an idiot.

When I talk to my friends, what we all seem to have in common is the challenge of moving from a “parent/child” (do what I say) to “parent/advisor” (I have wisdom) role. I’ve always advised people that when they have a problem seem somebody not just anybody to receive wisdom.

I know that these are generalisations but don’t speak to the person that is going through a divorce about how to mend your own marriage, speak to a marriage counsellor. Don’t speak to the butcher about investing in gems, speak to the jeweller.

I encourage my own children to get good advice but also to realise that there are many people that will provide advice but very few that will still be with you after it is given. I then reaffirm that both their parents will always be there for them.

Which brings me to the point that I find the most difficult. That is providing good advice and then watching one of our children completely ignore it. Ultimately they are responsible for their own actions and the whole point of advice is that sometimes you just need to ignore it.

So I find myself in a quandary. I’m proud of them for making their own mind up and crossing my fingers that the train wreck that they are in the process of creating isn’t too bad. So how do I manage this situation…..?

Anything that is permanently harmful I put into the bucket of “Alarm! Make sure our kids are aware of their foolishness!” An example of this would be drinking and driving, drugs, not studying due to laziness etc. Thank goodness none of my kids do this!

Anything that is an opinion I’m pretty easy with….their approach could be a lot better than mine.  The fact is, they NEED to sit with the consequences of their decisions in order to grow. We can’t keep them from harm by putting them in a padded cell forever!

When we first had kids they were so cuddly and wonderful. What you didn’t know back then was that as they grow your kids will require different types of parenting. Sure, you may know it as a theoretical concept but actually going through it is something else. So parenting is really hard but also amazingly fulfilling.

For example, my son is currently editing my scifi book Battleframe. He’s an incredible writer and his thoughts and incites are something I completely respect. So to all the parents out there…..here’s a bit of advice. The easiest way to provide wisdom to your kids is to accept wisdom from them as well.

Cheers!

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Michael Gilmour has been in business for over 32 years and has both a BSC in Electronics and Computer Science and an MBA. He was the former vice-chairman of the Internet Industry Association in Australia and is in demand as a speaker at Internet conferences the world over. Michael is passionate about working with online entrepreneurs to help them navigate their new ventures around the many pitfalls that all businesses face.

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Comments

Shelley100 on 01 March 2015

Very insightful Michael.

Very insightful Michael.
mgilmour on 03 March 2015

Thanks for that!

Thanks for that!
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