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Ruth Cummings Gombe
 
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Is This Your Child?

30 January 2013, 11:03

The other day I overheard a father ask his little 4-year old son what he would like to be when he grows up, to which the son responded "Spiderman!"  I always find that so cute, how kids aspire to be like superheroes or princesses and other fantastical characters when they grow up. Why, though?  Because superheroes generally save the world, they have the power to do almost anything, they have no fears, and they can fly! Princesses are loved, beautiful and have wardrobes to die for! J

It got me thinking. Somewhere, in a school out there, at this very moment is a future president of this country. Somewhere out there is the next CEO of one of the largest corporations, whether in South Africa or in the world. An innovator who's invention will change the way we think/live. A scientist who will make a very important discovery that will help many. An entrepreneur who will create employment for hundreds. Politicians, doctors, lawyers, business men and women, teachers, astronauts, researchers, inventors, and other professionals.

But by the same token, somewhere out there is the next generation of criminals - corporate thugs, gangsters, fraudsters, murderers, rapists, some hiding behind their professions to commit crimes (e.g. doctors botching up surgery, etc). Somewhere out there are kids who will be unemployed, drug addicts, abusers (physical, sexual, etc).

What are you grooming your child(ren) to be? Are you one of those parents who leaves it up to the schools, TV, music, and their friends to raise them? Too busy to spend even just a few minutes a week motivating your children? If you don't raise your child(ren), someone else will, and it may have a negative impact on your child's future.

Now I'm not saying we should all be like Earl Woods who strictly groomed his son Tiger in the golfing profession from a young age. However, the flip side is that not INVESTING time to groom your child leaves them open to all kinds of influences. I once met a lady who had had serious challenges with her teen children. She and her husband had tried various methods to get them to behave but to no avail. Eventually someone intervened and spoke to her children, who mentioned how they wished their parents had spent more time teaching them success rather than calling them names, telling them they were stupid, useless, or failures. The parents were surprised as they did not realise how often those negative words had rolled off their tongues, and to them it was contextual, so they did not realise it would affect all areas of the kids’ lives. For instance, she said, if one of them broke a glass, she would yell "Look what you've done, you idiot!" All these negative names and statements affected their performance in school and their general behaviour.  

In the late 90s/early '00s it became a trend for celebrities and other influential people's parents to write books about how they had groomed their children to be successful. I didn't buy into most of it, but I'm sure one or two of them were true.  I listen with a smile when I hear successful public figures talk about how their parents helped shape their lives, how their parents supported and encouraged them even when they were in school.  Some talk about how having their parents involved in their school, sports or other activities had a positive impact on their successes. 

So, what are you grooming your child for? Are you teaching them valuable principles about life? Are you teaching them success? Are you instilling positive values in them? Could you be raising the next president of your country?

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