Although, their goals are mainly simple ones.
Unlike adult goals that can be complicated and take a long time to accomplish, toddlers desire simpler things in life.
To play with their friends. That extra biscuit without mom seeing them take it. To color that plain wall that desperately needs their art on it.
As you can see, you may or may not agree with their goals.
But toddlers do have goals.
I realized this when my toddler was about two years old and her social needs increased. She started telling me that she wanted to play with her friends. I heard the same from my friend who has a boy of about the same age.
As my toddler continued to develop, she could tell me her favorite colors, favorite foods and her best friends.
More interestingly, she started to identify what activities she liked and what she didn’t.
She had no interest in sports but she loved reading and coloring. She also loved caring for people and animals and would often give me dental checkups (whether I wanted them or not).
Our Responsibility As Parents
As parents, I believe that part of our responsibility is to help our kids identify what they are passionate about, what their talents are and what their mission in life is.
I don’t believe in pushing or forcing kids into careers or life styles that they hate. Our world needs engineers as much as we need ballet dancers.
More importantly, we need happy, fulfilled people in this world, not disgruntled ones who work only for a paycheck.
However, helping our kids identify what they want to do in their lives, is insufficient.
It’s not enough to be able to do what you love to do.
You need to be able to earn a living from what you do too.
Our goal is our toddler’s happiness, but Also financial success
We all have heard stories about struggling Hollywood artists who spend their whole life serving tables or broke, talented artists who can’t make enough to stay in the business and end up giving up their passion for a boring, desk job.
No. Our world doesn’t need more of these.
That’s why I believe strongly in goal-setting.
Learning how to sell and market to others.
I believe that these are all basic life skills that every child needs to learn.
You may have heard author Stephen R. Covey’s quote that, “[i]f the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.”
Unfortunately, I experienced this firsthand myself when my loving father, whom I still highly respect and adore, didn’t allow me to pursue a psychology degree that I was interested in, because he was afraid that I couldn’t make a living from it. He wasn’t wrong. It’s true that I probably would have struggled.
But I now realize that the psychology degree could have been combined with other skills like sales and marketing, public speaking or product creation, to create a financially-satisfying life.
Imagine being able to write a best-selling book on how to communicate with strangers, or creating an app for people struggling with depression.
All these require some in-depth knowledge of psychology and combined with other entrepreneurial skills, I could have created something that earned me a living, while pursuing my interests.
This is what I want for our kids too. Let us not damper their enthusiasm by telling them that they can’t pursue their passions because it won’t pay them enough.
Instead, let us show them how they can pursue their passions while making a living.
Let the actress act instead of waiting on tables because she has managed to create her own YouTube following. Let the artist continue to paint because he now knows how to digitize his paintings to be sold online as screensavers.
Let us help our kids pursue their dreams while being realistic at the same time.
I believe this is one of the best parenting things that we can do for them.