Thursday, May 5, 2011

"You Can't Always Get What You Want"

I don't like to hear adults say this about children: They have to learn they can't always get what they want. And I really don't like the implication that it's my job to teach my children this lesson, by withholding things they desire.

Because I want my kids to keep having big dreams. And to keep sharing them with me. There are enough obstacles in the world without me having to be one for my own children. I want them to see me as someone who will help them get around the obstacles instead of add to them. Someone who will help them realize their dreams instead of shut them down.

These kids (my cousins) were determined to throw this really heavy rock off the pier.
I wonder if the parents who never want their kids to quit things are the same parents who consistently respond to their kids' requests for things with: No, you can't have that. And quit asking! I hope not. Because that would be confusing.

Right now, my daughter's dreams look like getting a Care Bears clock, or a princess castle, or "making it snow" paper snowflakes all over the house. And I take those dreams seriously. Together, we find a way to get make them happen for her. I appreciate how relatively easy it is to help her get the things she wants while they are still simple things.

I know some people think I am spoiling my children by helping them get the things they want. That I am over-indulgent. But I don't see it that way at all. I see it as being generous with my children. I see it as being supportive of their interests and their dreams. I don't think it is any different than the way my husband and I are generous with and supportive of each other. You don't often hear adults saying to each other: You can't have that because you have to learn. I am happy my husband never says that to me.

I want my kids to see that life is full of possibilities. To be open to finding a way to realize a dream, even when it seems impossible. To look at an obstacle on the way to a dream as a challenge to be figured out, a door to be unlocked if they can only find the key, instead of a dead end, a brick wall.

Every invention, every major technological advance in history would have been believed impossible until it was MADE possible by people who found a way.

Think about it: Every single person who ever lives will learn that he can't ALWAYS get what he wants. Each of us will want something at some point that will be physically impossible to get. Something like being taller (or shorter) or making someone fall in love or bringing someone back from the dead. So many other things you can dream are worth trying for.

So file this one under "Totally Unavoidable Life Lessons." And then don't worry that you have to be the one to teach it to anyone.

What are the seemingly impossible things you dream of doing or getting? What's getting in your way?


  1. Thanks Lyndz! I really appreciate the feedback. :)

  2. LOVE this! Just found you and will be back daily looking for updates! :)

  3. Thank you Amber. I appreciate your showing of support!

  4. LIKE! <3 beautiful post

  5. @Annette and Anonymous, Thank you! It's always good to know when other people agree with me. :)

  6. Love this! My friend and I were saying some of the same things last night! :) I really, really wish you would write a book, because it would easily be one of my favorite parenting books ever. <3

  7. I have honestly never encountered a person who has withheld something from their children, because they "have to learn they can't get everything they want". I mean, sometimes in the natural course of life, they don't get everything they want, but I just haven't heard about or witnessed anyone who has done it on purpose. To teach a lesson.

    How sad.

  8. One of the things our family does together is to make a family vision board and goal list. It has really helped us to set and achieve goals as a family.

  9. @dulce, Thank you so much for that awesome compliment... but I don't think I have enough experience to write a book quite yet. Who would buy a book by a mother of two toddlers? :)

    @Amy D, I hear "She has to learn she can't always get what she wants" more often than I would like to. It's a very unfortunate thing, but I'm sure many parents heard it when they were young too. I see parents withholding love and attention for this reason too. It's the same as the logic that says to ignore a tantrum to teach your child a lesson. It's very bad for a relationship, that's for sure.

    @Amy, I really like that idea. I would like to start one of those too. It means everyone's wants and needs get taken seriously. Thanks for the suggestion. :)