You could say ‘happy’ and that would be a good one. But happy for a son or daughter may involve having little motivation, smoking pot every day, and multiple one-night stands. ‘Successful’ is another goal to wish for your children. But success does not guarantee an ‘honorable or kind’ person, nor do those traits signify any life accomplishment. ‘Affectionate’ is a good trait, but not in every circumstance is it a good thing. Your offspring could be ‘courageous’, but without good judgment; or they may have good judgment with very little incentive.
I had a father who was charming but an alcoholic; a mother who was loving but without time; a brother who is smart but not educated; a sister who has a heart-of-gold but a terrible temper; and an easygoing nephew who is also easygoing about getting a college degree. My 4-year-old grandson is energetic and smart, but a little short on sharing; my 3-year-old granddaughter is sugary sweet but very tentative; and I have a one-year-old granddaughter who is cute as a button but can occasionally be quite cranky.
Now understand my grandkids are still very young and learning. Every day their parents encourage their good traits and work on those things that could be improved. This behavior by children is not unusual, but to let it ride would mean the parents are not correcting their children’s imbalances.
Surely, all of us have our pluses and minuses and it’s not fair to be judged on any one characteristic. We are the sum of all the words that fairly describe us. But there is a word I could suggest that would take our peculiarities, good and bad, and smooth them out because, sometimes, too much of a good thing can be overdone and a little bit of a bad thing can be useful.
What is this magic word that can cover most every adjective you would love to see in your child? The word is ‘balance'.
I hope my children, then grandchildren, will be balanced! A little yin works well with a little yang. A little toughness is good when needed and a little softness is welcomed when appropriate. Being charming and diplomatic is best whenever possible, but being aggressive and determined can serve one well at times. Being adventurous is a great characteristic when also cautious, while meekness serves one well when serving others. Decisiveness is necessary when time is of the essence and thoughtfulness is desired when compassion is necessary. We must balance, not only our personality and talents, but our reactions must be balanced to various situations.
Yes, words of description like ‘forceful’, ‘frank’, ‘independent’, ‘quiet’ and ‘sensitive’ can be wonderful attributes in some circumstances and not appreciated in others. When to act in a certain way is often more important in the world of balance than a predictable one-dimensional personality.
It’s very difficult to have balanced children if we do not demonstrate it ourselves as parents. We must balance time, family, career, attention, love, discipline, patience, and so much more. It is not an easy task, even when we are aware. And quite often, we are not aware. If we wish for compassionate children then we must have compassion in our hearts and exhibit to them. Our generosity and kindness to others will likely be matched by our children, and that could be good or bad depending on our values. Well-educated children are more likely to come from educated parents and simple courtesies are learned by children through watching more so than listening.
Yes, I think the magic word of success for anyone, and a goal for our children, is ‘balance’. That doesn’t mean being average or not concentrating on a special skill. It means keeping your head about you and not sacrificing too much to reach a specific goal. Balance will keep one from falling, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. Parents are essential in being the training wheels for their children. A nudge here and there can do wonders for their growth into successful adults.
“I never thought what my philosophy is, but it has to be balance in everything you do.”
—Abdullah A. Badawi