Be a voice, not an echo.
One of the most common life lessons you see bandied around the internet is the advice to be yourself, to be authentic.
It’s a sentiment neatly summed up by the Bard himself in this line from Hamlet: “This above all: to thine own self be true.”
I prefer Einstein’s rather more succinct statement, though.
Whatever form the words take, it’s a tip commonly found in posts telling you how to be a better blogger, including one or two that I’ve written. Take inspiration from others, yes, but don’t slavishly copy them in the expectation that what is right for them will also be right for you. Be the best version of yourself rather than a pale imitation of others.
But the same advice should also apply to how we bring up our children, shouldn’t it?
How often do we hear people serve up the platitude about it being a good thing if our children grow up to be just like us? Is that really the highest they should aspire to? Or should they aim to take the best aspect of their parents, their extended family, their friends, teachers and role models, to become something more than merely the sum of their parts?
That’s what I want for my kids, anyway. I’ll try to teach them everything I know. Then I’ll hope to give them the tools to build on those foundations and become more than I am or ever will be.
I don’t want my kids to grow up to be just like me. I wouldn’t want to restrict them to that. One day I hope to look at them and realise they have developed their own distinctive voice and become far more than an echo of their parents.