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What Do You Most Want For Your Children?

By Yvette Vignando - 3rd December 2010

One of the main reasons I changed careers (from lawyer to executive coaching and now parenting publishing) was because I became a parent. I loved many things about being a lawyer, but there were a few other things pressing on my mind and heart, namely:

  • I might regret working so hard when our kids were young and missing milestones and small events in their days and lives. I hoped to have very few regrets.
  • Although I am very interested in the law and especially how it can be a positive contributor to social change (see for example, NSW Australian of the Year Larissa Behrendt’s work), I was a little disillusioned with its processes.
  • I read Daniel Goleman’s book Emotional Intelligence, Why It Can Matter More than IQ  and felt instantly that the ideas in that book represented the path to what I wanted most for our children: happiness and fulfilment, people to love them and people for them to love.

Martin Seligman, respected academic, author and expert on positive psychology says he has asked hundreds of parents this same question “In two words or less what do you most want for your children?” and the answers are almost always these: Happiness, Confidence, Contentment, Balance, Good Stuff, Kindness, Health, Satisfaction. Seligman says that, in short, what parents want most for their children is wellbeing. Yet, he says, what most schools teach is accomplishment.

Like Seligman, I also want accomplishment for our children; I want them to be literate, numerate members of the community with a rich knowledge of the world and its history and a drive to achieve their best. But I know that these accomplishments are underpinned by something more important – emotional wellbeing.

If you would like to read an interesting and well-constructed argument for why wellbeing or emotional intelligence should be taught in schools, have a look at this article by Martin Seligman called “Positive Education, Positive Psychology and Classroom Interventions”  The lucky students at Geelong Grammar in Victoria, Australia had a taste of this magic thing called positive education and the program continues. Wouldn’t it be great if all the students in Australia had such an opportunity?

Anyway, I would love to collect a list of words and phrases from parents and teachers about what you most want for your children.

Please contribute your thoughts below – even a few words would be a wonderful contribution, thank you.

"What I want most for my children is ...."

Comments (3)

Resilience would be my word.

Resilience would be my word. I want them to have the skills to deal what ever curly ones life might throw at them.

Jodie

What I want most for my children

I want them to be kind, caring, peaceful, responsible, resilient, independent, confident, curious, and successful people.

What I want most for Michael

I can't take credit for writing this, but working in a school, I found these words on a colleagues notice board. I changed it to insert my son's name, Michael. I keep it on the fridge so he can see it everyday.

I want Michael to be intellectually curious.
I want Michael to be socially responsible, to be emotionally mature, well read, physically and emotionally healthy.
I want Michael to be sympathetic, empathetic and ethical in his spiritual and moral values.
I want Michael to experience success and learn to deal with disappointments.
I want Michael to have to come to terms with his own limitations.
I want Michael to be passionate, patient and able to persevere when things get tough.
I want Michael to experience to the joy of success when he has given something his all.
I want Michael to be creative and flexible.
I want Michael to get joy out of the success of others.
I want Michael to be able to enjoy his own company and find wonder and joy in the simple.
I want Michael to feel a responsibility to others.
I want Michael to question, challenge and critique his world.
I want Michael to be known, valued and know what it means to belong.

This is what I want for my baby...(he's 14 - but still my baby!)
Annalisa Woolridge http://funnyyoumentionit.wordpress.com/

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