My son is a creative boy; he loves to draw and write his own stories. A recent new text of his was a “book” called “My Mum’s New Job!” This came as a surprise to me as at the time, about six months ago, I had the full time job of Mum and the paid job as a teacher. However, children are very perceptive and he had clearly overheard me discussing frustrations at work and how I longed to make coaching young people my career.
He illustrated the front cover himself and showed a confused mum unclear about what she was going to do as her new job. And at the time I felt exactly that. I knew what I didn’t want; to continue to feel I could be doing more to help the children I work with, but unable to make it fit into the role I had. He only wrote the first page about how I came home excitedly and screamed, “I am getting a new job!” but the twist in the tale was that the mum in the story didn’t know what that job would be. And once more this struck a chord. It’s easy to focus on what we do not want but often much harder to pinpoint exactly what that new job/house/relationship will be.
One particularly dark day, following a personnel change at work that really impacted me and the group of children I coach, I was upset and my son came into the office and offered me a cuddle. We had a look at his book and I asked him how would the story of my new job end? He replied, “I don’t know, you haven’t lived it yet.” This stopped me in my tracks. He was absolutely right. We cannot let other people decide what our story is going to be. We must live it for ourselves; editing and proof reading as our plot unfolds.
Within a matter of weeks I had made the decision to go out on my own. I could no longer wait for someone else to recognise the importance coaching could have. I could no longer wait for a role to appear that would fit my ambition. I could no longer tell my children to follow their dreams, but not have the courage to live my own.
I began to focus on what I did want. I phrased my language very carefully. After all, we are what we think about, so it made sense to think about all the positive changes I wanted to make rather than focus on all I did NOT want.
So what do our young people think about? Maybe they know they definitely don’t want to work there, or earn this, or do that for a living. But how often do they articulate exactly what they DO want from life? And more importantly, how do they plan to get it?
How will your child’s first chapter begin?