I recently visited my best friend, who moved from L.A., to a small town in the Northwest. He built a home, from scratch, supervising every detail, and with his wife, they created their dream home. I found myself feeling a tad of envy, as he took me on the tour of the house, pointing out all the beautiful details.
As we’ve been renting for several years, the pride of ownership is just not part of our lives and our belief is that the practical choice is to stay in rent for the near future. Our choice, certainly. But, as I reflected on my own bout of envy, I thought about my boys and how often they’re comparing themselves to their peers.
It isn’t just a factor in Vegas. It’s a factor in everything in life. And, I believe it’s one of the biggest influences in how our kids turn out. Yes, every yuppie thinks they will do it better than every generation before and many of us do make parenting a bigger priority, but I assert raising kids takes luck!
Coming from a showbiz background, I saw how luck was a contributor to so many people’s success. Why did one actor “luck out” and get a career-making role like J.Lo in “Selena” while another whose name we don’t even remember got their “break” in what turned out to be a flop? Luck.
Cosmo, the wonderful Donald O’Connor star of “Singin’ In The Rain” sang “Make ‘Em Laugh” in that seminal musical number, but I say “Give ‘Em Luck,” for life and kid success. A little laughter along the way won’t hurt though. In fact, I’d suggest watching that number whenever you need a lift. We all know parents that have done everything “right” yet have kids who are addicts, failures at school, and more. We also know many lazy, lousy parents whose kids turned out great.
I don’t believe we should just rely on luck, but don’t discount it either. And, don’t beat yourself up when your kids disappoints and blame yourself or your spouse, or your divorce, or your own problems. That can make a difference, of course, and we all should do our best job at parenting. Luck is a non-negotiable, uncontrollable factor but, what do I know; I’m just a guy. But I will still assert – raising kids takes luck!
I’m amazed when my boys tell me they’re bored. Bored? With all the options they have today? The best response I ever heard to a kid saying “I’m bored” was “No, you’re boring.” A brilliant response from a parent and I wish I’d said it first. It is not our job to be our kid’s entertainment coordinator.
When I was a kid, we played. Seems kind of quaint. We made up games. One of my favorites was called Mongoose, where we took two books and hit a ping-pong ball back and forth between them with the object to see how long we could keep it going. Then, they’re all the adventures we’d go on in our own Huck Finn way. Places to explore, bikes to ride, trees to climb.