[Decisions] What’s a mother to do?
A very close friend of mine called me this morning for my input on a major decision. “Do I sell my house and move into an apartment in order to continue sending my two daughters to the best private elementary school in the area?”
My first reaction was, “Of course, nothing is more important than the education of your progeny.” After I answered, I was quiet for a second and thought about another friend whose mother bounced around from apartment to apartment while struggling to keep her in school. Now this friend has a great job, is well educated, and has major security and commitment issues. Her uncertain childhood made her unable to take any risks and crave stability over all else. What’s a mother to do?
Every decision of the parent effects the child in some way. I’ll explain using my own life. My parents grew up very poor but refused to let their children experience the same hardships. Their decisions and ways of thinking have had many unexpected effects on who I am today. The law of cause and effect isn’t always immediately understood but hopefully some of my examples will make it more clear.
My parents were adamant about school and work. Tired or sick was not an excuse to miss class or work. Multitasking is not an option in my family it is the standard. My sister had two jobs in high school and still would have been grounded if she got a “C” or lower. I have taken 3 sick days from work in 4 years and I only missed those days because I thought I might be contagious. I use my vacation days to tend to my other business aspirations. I was taught and still practice the ideal that hard work and education are the only way out of poverty.
Their upbringing in poverty made them survivors. My upbringing in middle class America with only survival skills made me terrible at long-term thinking and unable to enjoy the luxuries of life. People born rich tend to do well not only because of their inherited resources but also from their mindset of “work smarter not harder.” It wasn’t until I read “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” and had a mentor with a different mindset than mine did I understood why I was not getting ahead.
Can you imagine the effect that abusive and/or negligent behavior has on a child? Something you (as a parent) say or do today could follow that child for the rest of his/her life. In the same way, something as simple as enrolling your child in an art class or in Pop Warner football could enhance that child’s life and transform them from mediocre to exemplary.
Most of us float through life unaware of the causes and effects of our actions. We believe that chance and fate control our lives, but chance and fate are just unknown causes and effects. It is impossible to accurately predict the effects of all of our actions but it is possible to mitigate the damages by actively trying to do the best thing.
The original dilemma is whether to forgo short-term happiness for the increased possibility of long term success? Will being highly educated create unimaginable possibilities for the next generation or will it create another generation of educated but unsatisfied adults?
What do you think? What is the best option for my friend?