Monday, December 29, 2008
A book that has got me thinking...
I was raised in an East Indian household - if you have any Indian friends or are Indian yourself...you know how incredibly stressful it is to grow up in a house where straight A's are demanded, perfect SAT scores are expected, Ivy League educations are the ONLY real education...it all comes from a place of love, but our parents really focused on academic greatness and equated it to success.
My husband got this book for Christmas: The Truth About You: Your Secret to Success by Marcus Buckingham...let me just say, although I feel that motivational speakers have their place, I am just not a fan. However, this lovely book came with a 20 minute DVD with an intro to the book itself and I felt inclined to watch it based on some of the things Joel (the husband) had to say about it.
The main point in the book is that we spend our whole lives trying to improve on our weaknesses - he gives this example about how when we get our quarterly review at work, the boss only spends a second on your accomplishments or your strengths, but focuses heavily on the 'what needs improvements'. Buckingham's philosophy is quit trying to improve on your weaknesses and start focusing on your strengths because, really, you've probably had the same weaknesses since a young age and you can only get so good at it, but your strengths - geez, if you gave yourself time to get stronger...think of where you could end up! But here is the kicker: he redefines what you think of as 'strengths'. It's not what you are good at - because you could be really steallar at something, but HHHHAAATTTEE it. Your strengths, according to Buckingham, is what you LOVE. What makes you feel strong. What makes your heart sing. What lights that fire in you. You may not be a rock star at it...but it does that something to you that makes you come back for more.
Think about that. It's freaking brilliant and erases everything I have ever thought of as my strengths.
Now, can I as a parent - as a person who was raised to be academically successful and never once told that I should "Do what I Love" - raise my children to follow their hearts? If my son is getting D's in English but can do Calculus in his sleep...should I freak out? Because I'm going to - there is no way I could tell him it's cool with me that he's nearly failing English, because I know how much he loves math...it all evens out??!!! Ummmmm, no.
I very much would love it if I could teach my kids to do what they love and maximize on it. But I'm with my parents in the thinking that it's just not all that practical. But here I am: I always did pretty darn well in school, went to college did the whole Honors thing there...and I am succeeding at having my own little business CREATING things that I LOVE. My children watch me on a daily basis working on my creations, asking me questions about what I do and why... and then I hear my son say, "I want to draw pictures for books when I grow up" and I feel my heart quiver in fear. Isn't that sad??!! It's awful. And I have to change it right now because I do not want to raise my children to believe that their love for the creative arts are just frivolities or stress relievers the way I was taught to believe.
I am sure there is a happy medium somewhere that I need to find. Perhaps I can rely on my husband who has always believed to do what you love and has offered that strength to me when I needed it, to create and reiterate that message to our children. Or maybe, some day soon, I will be able to preach what I practice.
Posted by The Pretty Peacock