The Block Doesn’t Always Chip

We want such big things for and from our kids. Because we know what they’re capable of. Because we have worked so hard to provide a better childhood for them than we had. Because we know the mistakes we made in our lives and want them to learn from them–to pick up where we left off. We also know what has served us well, what we are capable of.

But the problem with that is this: Our kids are not us. It’s that simple. As much as they are like us in so many ways, they are their own people. They are so different from us.

Perhaps your parents struggled with this. Certainly many parents have throughout history. As Louis Fischer writes in his classic biography of Gandhi, the Mahatma had high hopes and high standards for his boys. He expected Harilal, Manilal, Ramdas and Devadas to be “chips off the old block,” Fischer writes, “but the block did not chip.”

Sometimes that’s just how it goes. Probably more often than not it’s how it goes. It is unfair and unkind to expect them to be you…because again, they are not you. They are their own unique combination of DNA. They are a product of their own experiences, ones fundamentally different from yours. They are on their own journey. Be OK with that. Support and celebrate them on that.

Your kids are something new and special and wonderful. Why try to make them chips off a block anyway? That’s kind of a sad metaphor when you think about it. They are not derivatives. They are not remnants. They are so much more than that!

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