I don't know what enters people's heads when they walk into a public space, but I am sure I don't get it.
My beef of the day is the limits that people set, or don't, for their children in the synagogue.
I get you want your kid to participate, but that doesn't mean that the synagogue needs to take on playground rules. I am sure your child can participate in prayer just as well without climbing on the furniture, or standing, in bare feet or shoes, on the surface on which the next person will be putting his hands and prayer book, or even on the upholstery (that wears too).
If your child wants to be at your level, you could actually just hold him there. And if you really must let him climb all over the furniture, . . .
How about coming over and doing the chores they hate to do but love to have done: clean the gutters, sweep out and organize the garage, winterize the mower, clean the windows, do the cooking.
Maybe just listen to them. Get really interested in their lives and experiences. Ask them to tell you about their first love, their first car, their first memory of their parents/grandparents.
People won’t remember what you got them as much as they remember how you made them feel. Just keep asking yourself what can I do to make my mom/dad feel special now? How can I show my love? How can I show my respect? How can I help?
You’ll have the best holiday ever.
I graduated high school as the valedictorian and I performed very well in the sports I played. Of course I would want him to have my interests, but I do not expect him to. I do want him to be mentally capable and I for sure want to know how to help his development to surpass me as soon as possible.
It's tricky. You were obviously motivated. What you might be asking yourself is whether that motivation actually lead you to do the great things in life you once dreamed of, or whether it caused you to follow some other path or dream.
I'd say the best thing you can do is to make sure you share your curiosity with your child, or if that seems to have faded, share his curiosity with him. When he wants to rip something apart to figure how it works, be there with him. When an appliance breaks, take it to pieces with him. Always wonder, always talk to him like he can understand everything, because at some level he can. Amazingly, there are concepts of calculus/statistics/geometry we can understand without knowing our times tables.
Just get interested. And if money or access is an issue, that's great, because then you have to become creative. One of my sons is into archery and knife throwing. We got on youtube and found some ideas for targets and made our own, one out of corrugated cardboard boxes, the other out of scrap lumber.
Another asked about twins, and I pulled out my old Animal Reproduction textbook (my B.S. is in Animal Science) and we got to look at fertilization, implantation, etc.
Now that my kids are almost all teenagers, the one thing I wish I'd spent more time on is getting them to develop mastery in something. It's what caused me to look at Sal Kahn's Ted video above. There are kids who are at the top of their game by the time they are 16. Just look at the Olympics. And how many world class musicians started as kids? They liked something, they practiced. They got that getting good was fun, and made them better people.
On the one hand, pushing doesn't help. On the other, giving the space so they can take what they like and really play full out is amazing. Sometimes it's hard not to push though. You see something your kid is good at, you'll say “Wow. This is it.” All of a sudden you've pushed a bit too hard, and he won't touch it again, ever.
Oh and read Alfie Kohn's Unconditional Parenting.
And trust yourself. Just by asking this question, you have ensured that he will be, because you are interested enough and committed enough to make sure it will happen.
My parents hate me but I don't know why?
They probably don't hate you, though it's not something you can rule out altogether.
It may have nothing to do with you. It may just be the fact that you exist and they blame you for their lives taking a different trajectory since you were born. This is bullshit, but it's how some people think and feel.
The best thing to do is ask them. Mom, Dad, I feel like you hate me and I don't know why. Do you? Why?
It might just be that they are disappointed with some of your choices. They might be afraid for you and trying to protect you. They might hate you.
If they do hate you, do what you can to move out.
If they don't, listen to them carefully. Try to take everything they say from the standpoint of “They love me, and they are acting this way because of that. Let's look at why.”
For instance, some people think rewards and punishments are necessary to direct a child's actions to be a good person. You might see them as arbitrarily taking things away from you or making your life difficult. If you open up a conversation, and commit to an open dialogue and understanding the why, you might come to see things a different way.
Please open up the conversation. It seems crazy scary (What if they do say they hate you just because you were born?), but what's the worst that can happen (They say they hate you because you were born.) At least you'll know where you stand.
And then you can ask, “Okay, here we are, I'm born, what can we do to really make each other's lives great together?” Inside of an inquiry like that, you can create some miracles.
Try it. I think you'll be surprised by what shows up.