01 April 2013

What Does Success Look Like?

I've been thinking about success for a while now.  What is it?  Is success defined as playing a varsity sport in school?  Getting straight A's?  Graduating college and going on to graduate school? Is success advancing to executive level in your profession?  Is it defined as having lots of money and fancy cars?

As parents, I think it's easy to project our own individual definitions of success onto our children.  I used to look at what I expected for Matthew's future and saw a college graduate who was married to a wonderful and beautiful wife (who would be a super duper daughter-in-law for me to fall in love with) and he would bestow me with at least a few beautiful grandchildren.  He would have a "successful" career and lots of friends and would be an all around handsome, clean cut, responsible and loving man.  When we learned of Luke's diagnosis, I was crushed for a while because I knew it was unlikely that I'd be able to see that same vision come true for Luke's future.  I was sad for who I knew he wouldn't become.... it took me some time to come to the realization that while he may not become who I had envisioned at the beginning, he will become the person he is destined to be within his own heart... and who is to say that the person he will become won't be equally as wonderful - or possibly even more so than who I'd originally planned out in my mind?

What is success?  I don't think it's about meeting society's definition of awesome... I think it's about looking your own true potential square in the face, having the courage to go after your dreams and the perseverance to keep going and going until you've done your best (especially when you've been knocked to your caboose a time or two).  It's about never giving up.  Whether that means becoming a heart surgeon, a lawyer, having some sort of blue collar job or maybe falling somewhere in between.  Success is about feeling good about who you are.  It's about making a meaningful contribution to the world around you.  It's about having a winning attitude and being proud of the decisions you've made.  Success isn't about competing with the world, it's about competing with you.  It's about always ending up better than you started off. 

I hope I can offer my boys the opportunity and freedom to explore the world around them so they can determine for themselves who they are and what they want to be.  I hope that they are confident (not to be confused with arrogant) and pursue what they are good at.  I hope that at the end of a long day, they can reflect on what transpired and think, wow - I made a difference.... whether it's because they shared a smile with someone, helped a little old lady with her groceries or if it's because after a lot of hard work they finally graduated from college...

I hope we are able to teach our boys the skills they need to have their own sense of self worth...  I hope they meet their own definitions of success....

No comments:

Post a Comment