Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

“Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees!”

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

I was out for dinner last night with my husband and two of our long time dear friends here in Hong Kong.  We have known one another for 13 years and Eddie and I have seen their children grow and develop to such interesting and accomplished adults.  Now it is time for the eldest one to go to college and our friend was describing the process to us.

We were talking about the generation born in the 80’s and 90’s and how they have little concern about money.  They were brought up with debit cards and our friends were saying that their children don’t really know how much things cost anymore. He says all they know is “bip money” – they go to the convinient store to buy a Coke and it costs “bip dollars”, not three Hong Kong dollars. They were wondering if their kids would be ready to establish their own businesses and face the world.  Now, bear in mind that these two guys raised their children to be frugal.  They are self-made individuals who have a very successful business and who always lived below their means.  They are not extravagant by any stretch of the word and they made sure that their children knew that they needed to be grateful for what they have.

They pointed out that the perception their children have regarding money is that they will always have it.  Their children just “know” that money is not a problem.  They didn’t grow up hearing their parents argue about money and complaining that they don’t have enough.  Like I said before, their children were not raised in a household of waste and consumerism and yet they were not denied their basic needs and gifts twice a year.  They were raised to be grateful and they were raised with boundaries.

As I listened to them telling me this I began to feel hopeful about the future! Imagine that the children of today have the ability to simply “get” that money is not a problem.  They know that they will always be provided for and that they don’t need to believe that acquiring money is their sole purpose in life.  They have the freedom to choose a profession they love and money is no longer the only measure of how successful you are!  And before you call me the eternal delusional optimist, I will tell you that I realize kids do care about their stuff.  I know they want to have things and that they face a world filled with options that confuses them quite a bit.  But I also see the possibility of having a future generation of adults who believe and live in the mentality of abundance.  Their main concern is to be doing things they love and not accumulating things they think they love.  I can see clearly a time when material things will take a back seat to realizing a dream, helping others, curing diseases, developing spirituality and sharing their bounty.

We are going through a time of profound change.  Those of us who tried to change our mindset from scarcity to abundance know so well how difficult this shift can be.  Can you imagine a generation where this pattern of thinking is already ingrained in their DNA?  Can you see how the detachment to material things starts there? Do you understand the possibilities attached with a generation that truly wants to do good with no concerns of how the money will come because they know in their hearts that they will be provided for as long as they do what they love?  I was thrilled when I realized that and I began to share with my friends what I think is in store for their children!

As our friend faces the prospect of his first child flying off to college, he feels a bit nervous about how she will manage all by herself.  I reminded him of the wonderful job he did raising her:  The boundaries that were so hard to put in place, the time he took to explain why it is important to be grateful for what they had, the moments when their example spoke lauder than words and so forth.  It’s natural to have doubts and it is good to listen from people other than their close family that they did the best they could while raising their children. I admire my friends for all their wisdom and for their doubts.  I am also grateful that through their children I could see a glimpse of the future and be hopeful about it.

May we all learn to think in abundance and to pass it on to the next generation!

With energy,

Ana

This post is dedicated to Stephanie.  May she grow in wisdom and kindness and have a great time in her upcoming college adventure!

Parenting and the Olympics

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

As I was reading the paper today, I came across a couple Olympic stories.  One was about my former team – Coral Springs Swim Team – in Weston, Florida.  It was great to see that Coach Lohberg has been able to preserve the atmosphere of friendship and camaraderie after many years as their head coach.  The other story was about the US gymnastics team and their training.  Bela Karolyi and his wife Martha are wonderful examples of coaches committed to the growth of the sport and not to their own individual agendas. 

As I read about the athletes and their getting ready for the games, I went back in time to take a look at my own athletic career.  I was a successful swimmer, extremely driven and full of discipline.  

Often we see the involvement of the parents and wonder how much of a contribution they are making to their son/daughter athletic career?  Speaking from the point of view of a daughter-athlete, I would like to offer my two cents here.  When parents allow the space for the child to choose his/her own path, without imposing their views, hopes and dreams for themselves on their child, there is a great chance their son/daughter will become successful.  When they transfer their hopes and frustrated dreams to their child things tend to get a bit discombobulated.  If my parents had pushed me to become a swimmer and had not allowed me to make that choice myself, I doubt that I would have followed that path.  Especially knowing that when people try to boss me around, my nature is to do exactly the opposite! 

There are all sorts of patterns in successful athletes’ lives but the one that remains most consistent has to do with parenting styles.  Every champion has the same story:  Their parents allowed them to be who they were and to go for it at their own pace.  It’s all about meeting your child where he/she is without trying to impose your own views on them.  In other words, let them write their own story.  I am extremely thankful my parents allowed me the “space” to do just that. 

On that note:  Happy Father’s Day Dad! 🙂  And also to all of you fathers out there!

With energy,

Ana

Becoming a Parent-Coach

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

One of my clients came to me because she was having trouble understanding her teenage son.  She was familiar with coaching and her goal was to become a Parent-Coach.  Her clarity was amazing and within a few sessions it became clear to her how to achieve her goal.  She gave me permission to discuss some of her findings in my blog.

She realized that as her son changed, she had to change as well.  Most amazingly, she realized that the root of some of the troubles they were having was her unwillingness to change!  Her son was mirroring some of the things she wanted to change about herself and she naturally resisted the change.  Their parent-child relationship had evolved and this realization was major for her to better her relationship with her son.

The major point here is: Get to know yourself first so that you can better understand others.  You will then be able to recognize when the opportunities for your change and growth arrive.  A change in the parent-child relationship, for example, is a huge opportunity for personal growth even if it comes wrapped up in what it seems to be a conflict. 

Once you are able to recognize these opportunities, you will begin to feel grateful to whoever brings them into your life and will not take their reactions in a personal manner.  You will begin to feel gratitude toward them because they allow for you to see the possibility for your own growth!  It is indeed a major shift in our thinking and it is one that can truly change our relationships with the ones we love the most.  I dare say it’s a shift that can change our world for the best!

Have fun shifting!

With energy,

Ana