“The most loving parents and relatives commit murder with smiles on their faces. They force us to destroy the person we really are: a subtle kind of murder.” -Jim Morrison
I recently conducted a survey that asked college students two questions. What is your dream job and what is stopping you from achieving it?
Two observations stood out:
- Young people have high aspirations
- They believe there to be a long list of barriers halting their success
How they defined those roadblocks:
- Overwhelming debt
- Limited time and resources
- Lack of confidence
- Fear of the unknown
Among the roadblocks, the observation that stood out to me most was parental pressure.
Before I dive into that, let’s take a step back and see where it transpired. Boomers (1946-1964), whom for the most part raised millennials (1980-2000) didn’t have much growing up. Their parents worked their tails off, many without the financial resources to give their kids as much as they would have liked.
Therefore, Boomers were forced to grow up at a young age. They had to scrape and claw to make it, and many of them did just that. They were on the paper route by the time they hit double digits. They got married at a younger age. They joined companies, put in long hours, moved up the ladder, became financially successful, had kids…you get the picture.
As I mentioned earlier, Boomers understood that hard work was as important as being smart. Like their parents, grandparents and so on, that in America, if you invested the time and effort to be successful, only your imagination could limit your professional growth. They worked hard and sacrificed time with their friends and family. The key was making sure they put their kids in a position to be better off then they were.
However, these boomers were different than their parents and grandparents. They did not want their children to struggle like they did. They wanted their kids’ life to be easy. Life, my friends, isn’t supposed to be easy. Not if you aspire to be great.
Children should be prepared for the path, but should not have the path prepared for them.
Two issues impacting Millenials:
- Parents taking the challenge and accountability out of their kids lives
- Parents trying to take uncertainty out of their kids lives
Here is a list of how parents have taken the challenge out of their kids lives.
- Elementary School – Teachers are hesitant to assign homework because it ends up getting done by their parents instead.
- High School – When athletes don’t get the playing time they feel they deserve, the coaches get a call…from the parents.
- College – Parents want their kids to take specific courses, so they call the school to create their schedule for them. Isn’t college where you learn to grow up and make decisions on your own?
- Workplace – Son or daughter doesn’t get the job – parent calls the boss to set up a meeting to learn why.
Here are a few ways that parents have taken the uncertainty out of their kids’ lives.
- In a recent meeting with a prep school guidance counselor she told me how a father had all four of his daughters attend the same college, study the same courses, and become nurses at the same hospital. Is that what all four of his daughters wanted, or were they pressed that way?
- Pushing their child to take over their family business.
- Insisting that their child pursue a field they’re not interested in because it has decent pay, benefits, and most importantly is SAFE.
How can we develop our passions and dreams if we are constantly being told what to do? We must learn how to make our own decisions. We must learn how to deal with adversity. We must learn how to fail and persevere on our own.
Millennials, it’s important to listen to your parents and learn from them. With that said, although it’s well meaning, don’t choose a career based off of what your parents want. You need to choose a career that is in a field you love. That will make working 60 hour weeks rewarding and lead you to greatness.
If you want something, it’s on you to get it. Don’t ever use the excuse that you’re not happy or successful because of your parents.
Our decisions and our ACTIONS will determine if we become successful. How bad do you want it? How strong is your internal drive to succeed and do what is expected to flourish? If you find yourself making excuses, you don’t have enough desire to be great.
We have got to get back to the old adage; you want your kids to be more successful than you are. If that happens, our country will only improve. To ensure that happens, focus on what it takes to be successful in this world and share it.
Empower yourself to fail. Failure is great as long as you learn from it and apply those lessons as you evolve.
Building success can hurt. Long hours and the relentless pursuit of achievement comes with a price, but more importantly will lead you to tremendous satisfaction and rewards.
I want to thank you all for taking the time to read this post. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and experiences in the comment section.