Monday, September 28, 2009

My wishes for my son (Part 1)

I think pretty much all parents would have some kinds of goal/hope/wish their kid to be ‘something’ when they grow up. Like to be some kinds of white-collar professionals – doctors, lawyers, etc, or more specially to live like certain lifestyles – i.e. to be rich, either from a well-paid job, or as owners of businesses. The reason behind is that they want their kids to have financial security. If the parents themselves are financially secured, on the one hand, they will try to extend their own security to their kids through education, materials sharing or inheritance after death. So, the kids can stand their own. If the parents are not financially secured, such wish/goal would mean that the parents would like to benefit from their kids’ financial success. It is particularly true for parents living in such a capitalistic society/culture. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, cos everyone is free to entitle to their own goal/wish. Certainly, would those goals/wishes ultimately come true or not is another story. We can wish all we want, without some plans and actions, the possibility that goals/wishes will come true is just like winning lottery.

Relatively rare is that parents will have specific wish/goal what kind of characters or values that they hope their kids will be able to have when they grow up. I don’t know about others, but my belief is that characters and values are extremely important to determine what kind of person the kids will end up to be then simply wishing your kid to be a doctor or lawyer. Cos, without solid characters and good value, even if they become doctors or lawyers, they would become bad doctors and rotten lawyers. Or, in many cases, they simply can’t become what their parents want them to be. Also, many parents don’t spend enough time to see what kind of materials their kids are. Yes, they are all princes and princesses in their parents’ eyes. Many of them do think that their kids are better than what actually they are. Cos, understanding what you have is equally if not more important than what fantastic goal you want the kids will be in future.

Of course, I don’t know what my kid will be in future. I would let my kid to explore how much upside he can go, but I do have the hope that he won’t fall below the bottom lines that I wish he can be. I don’t have a very organized set of plans or goals for my kid. However, these are just some values(not in any particular orders) on my mind that I would like my son to consider. My dear son, I hope you will read the following and really spend time to think about them someday:

1. Healthy Body - A healthy body overall, scratches here and there is fine, cos it is part of growing up. Just don't get serious injuries that have long lasting effect would be fine with me.

2. Appearance - In terms of physique, strong, slim and with good BMI through regular exercises. Not necessary muscular unless you want. Big belly is a no-no. Whether you want a tan or stay pale skin is up to you as well.

3. Physical alternation - Hair length or style doesn't matter to me. Cos, it can be changed/restored. Tattoo? no-no unless it is with convincing reason. Not girlfriend's name or something stupid. Piercing is your choice. However, I think if you spend more time on your character and individuality development, you would deem that you don't need drastic physical alternation to his appearance. I believe that one of the main reason people spend so much time and effort on their appearance (including hairstyle, makeups, fashions, and those more drastic changes like plastic surgery, tattoos, body piercing, etc) is because they think that those changes would change other's perception of them and improve their self-esteem. However, I think that if you make an equal effort to improve your inner-beauty (i.e.mental toughness, intelligence, knowledge base, EQ, etc), those improvements are more durable and valuable in the long run, and more important is that those improvements are stepping stones or bases that you can further build upon. I'm not saying to have a decent appearance is not good, just anything too excessive would be thought twice before doing it.

4. Communication skill -
I hope you will have good communication skills. Able to contact smooth conversations to almost anyone. Doesn't be shy or with tongue tied when you deal with strangers or anyone else. Of course, you will make mistakes and say stupid things that hurting people and end up hurting yourself as part of your growth. However, as time goes by, I hope you will improve. Cos, good communication skill is the most important thing a person can have in a society. Remember, communication is 'two' way, don't just talk, you need to listen as well. Sometimes, it is more important to listen then talk. If you don't listen carefully, you will not know what should say. Also, listen to people is not just about the content, equally important is what have not be said. The body language, tone of voice, etc are also important. Otherwise, you will know what should say, but you may not know how to say....

5. Good EQ - It is so important to have good EQ. Of course, with good IQ is great. However, in these day and age, it also applies to future that IQ is something that we can leverage on. There are many books to read, many virtual resources available, and courses to take. Also, if you can seek other people with more expertise than yourself in any area for advice and help. However, with good EQ, you wouldn't be able to successfully get others to help you. Also, I would say majority of the problems that you will face in your life are 'people' problem. With good EQ, you can prevent them from happening in the first place or solve them without much problem. There are many problems in the world, financial crashes, earthquakes, etc that we can't solve or even comprehen. However, as long as we live, we would be around people, and we will need to know how to get along with them either in crisis or in peace time. So, it is extremely important to have good EQ.

So what is considered to be good in EQ? Well, it is a million dollar question, there are tons of books about that. However, just on top of my mind, I would say there are few:

Being emotionally stable - it is better to stay calm in facing crisis. You may be scare or upset or angry. That's fine, but don't let your rough emotion to hijack your thoughts and actions. Conveying the energy from anger and sadness to something positive is easy to say than done. However, if you can calm yourself down within a short period of them by yourself and regain rational thinking. It is a big plus in dealing with problems. Sometimes, your additional stable emotion will cause more problem than you need. Control your temper! Remember!

Be rational - Yes. Once you can calm down, then you can start using your brain rather than your heart. Try to look at problem with a holistic view. Look at it from 360 degree, up and down, inside out. Then, think of solution, or alternatives to problems. There is often more than one solution. The number of solution or alternatives will increase as your intelligence grow and your analytic skill develops. It is often no 'best' solution. Cos, everything is a matter of 'gives' and 'takes', and resources are always limited. It is a game of 'time' and 'quality'. You just need to use your EQ and communication skills to manage other's expectation. Therefore, a lot of the time, some so-called 'best' solutions have never been implemented. Rather, the 'acceptable' solutions win out. BECAUSE, someone uses his/her skills to convince the people who are being affected that it is the 'best' solution, and to make them 'accept' it. That's how many things being done!

Be Patient - I know you are young and young people are impatient. Remember, many things in this world take times. Things take times to become problems. Things take times to get made. Solutions take times to be implemented and take times to see the effect. So, it is natural to take times to make decision on solution or to plan on things.

6. Skill development - There are full of problems in the world. Hardcore knowledge are widely available with technological improvement, but they are more or less simply data and tools. However, it is up to you to think about how to put them together to fix the problem you are facing. If you can, try to understand the logic behind solutions, especially what are the building blocks of the solutions. Then, you will learn how to put what together that can perform certain functions.

7. Enjoy the process - A lot of people around you will give your pressure on the results of your actions. They will criticize your failure and praise your success. Certainly, you will enjoy the praise and upset of criticism. However, don't let those emotion to make you overlook another thing which is more personal to you. It is the process itself. It could be long, hard, and difficult. Other people only care about your end result, you should care the end result as well because that's your goal, but you should try to make the process itself enjoyable a bit. Enjoy the difficulties along the way. Those are valuable experience and lessons. You are not the others, you are the one who have gone through the whole thing. Sometimes, you might be alone in it. So, you need to understand and look at the good side of the whole thing. Not just the end results, cos end results are not always the most important things, you may lose a battle, but will win a war. Treat defeats as learning lessons, and the process itself are trainings for something bigger and more important in future.

8. Set up your bottom lines and never cross themselves -
As you grow older, you should know that the world is full of 'greys'. 'Black' and 'white' are the end of the spectrum of 'greys'. You will know what are they, but most of the time you will not reach them. So, the world you are living in are full of 'compromises'. The 'gives' and 'takes' that I mentioned above are part of the 'compromises'. Just imagine the 'gives' and 'takes' are 'black' and 'white'. How much of which you pour into a bucket (solution) is to reach 'compromises' - the 'greys'. However, there are 'dark' greys and 'light' greys. Different degree of 'greys' do bear different consequences. So, there are 'greys' that you need to set as bottom lines for your own actions. They should not be changed unless it is under extraordinary circumstances, like life or death situations. Otherwise, you need to stick to your values and bottom lines. Believe me, it is easier to live within some boundaries (particularly those boundaries are set by yourself) than living without any boundaries. Cos, we do need some guidelines for our own actions. Otherwise, you will lose your focus and make mistakes. I believe in freedom, but there are limits. I will share with you more about that separately.

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