Some people have an “unfair advantage” in the marathon race called life. This advantage will enable them to climb the ladder quickly and enjoy all the benefits that success offers. You may be thinking that these lucky folks won’t earn their achievements; that they were born with a silver spoon in their mouth and are being given assistance that only a few receive. Welcome to the world of the haves and have-nots.
The fact is, the “unfair advantage” that will give these folks their head start can be found in the strong foundation they are receiving: nurturing parents or caregivers, access to a good education, wonderful role models to emulate, and an upbringing that embraces good values. Everything they achieve later in life will build on this foundation and is earned through their own hard work and effort.
Although some may think that money can buy a good foundation, nothing could be further from the truth –– it requires love and dedication. The fact is, a good education isn’t solely the responsibility of a teacher . . . it requires a partnership between the school and the family. Setting a good example doesn’t happen overnight . . . it requires a commitment to be a good role model day in and day out. Good values aren’t learned by magic . . . they require consistent reinforcement and commitment. These aren’t gifts of the wealthy, but of the caring.
A Foundation for Success Doesn’t Happen By Chance
Providing a good foundation is easier said than done. After an exhausting day at work, it’s easier to stare at the TV than review your child’s homework; when your kid does something wrong, it’s easier to let it slide than to be the “bad guy” and discipline him or her; when your kid is surrounded by bad influences, it’s easier to look the other way, than to confront the issue head-on; and when your child meets defeat, it’s easier to “blame the world” rather than help your child accept responsibility and learn from the setback.
The difference between the haves and have-nots is dependent on the foundation that we provide our kids. Here’s what it takes:
Nurturing. Parenting is not a part-time job. Children require continual encouragement and support. Parents are the cheerleaders who provide hope and optimism for the future.
Personal sacrifice. Parents are selfless people willing to forgo a great deal to benefit their children. They dream of offering their children a better life than they had.
Discipline. Parents know that disciplining a child is not easy. Although it’s rarely appreciated, it’s often in the child’s best interest.
Personal responsibility. Parents know that it takes a village to raise a child, but they do not outsource responsibility for building a good foundation for their kids. They also teach their children to accept responsibility for their actions and choices.
Empathy. Parents teach kids that success is the result of hard work. And although occasional disappointment is inevitable, they shouldn’t let it derail the journey. Parents are always there to provide a ray of sunshine when the sky fills with clouds.
Inner voice. When kids grow up, they hear their parent’s voice in their subconscious. Make sure the words they hear offer positive messages.
Setting an example. Parents know their behavior will be emulated. Therefore, they can instill good personal values and a strong work ethic by serving as exemplary role models. Furthermore, they know that friends and family, teachers and pastors, celebrities and athletes, and even video games, movies, and music influence behavior. Are they a good or bad influence?
Family. The family provides a child with roots, much-needed structure, and unconditional love. Families also provide their children with a happy home –– a place where a child is always safe and welcome.
The Most Rewarding Experience of a Lifetime
It’s hard for parents to measure the result of their hard work in weeks, months, or even years. But one day your children will grow up and you’ll see that your efforts paid off. You’ll take great pride in knowing that you raised well-adjusted kids. They’re honest and ethical, ambitious and self-reliant, hardworking and disciplined, compassionate and modest. They have strong moral character, impeccable values, and a sense of purpose. They’re going to go places in life, and you played a pivotal role in building their foundation for success.
Although you won’t see fireworks lighting the sky, there’s nothing more gratifying than seeing what you’ve accomplished. As Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “We may not be able to prepare the future for our children, but we can at least prepare our children for the future.” That’s what parenting is all about, isn’t it? Your parents did it for you, and your children will do the same thing for their children. Some people ask what success is . . . well now you know. You raised great kids. And because of your love and dedication, they have a bright future ahead of them. Yes . . . there is a difference between the haves and have-nots. Because of you, your kids have it all.