What do you need, want and desire?

"Your children are not your children."
- Kahlil Gibran

What do you need, want and desire?  That's the question I ask my children usually when we're in the car to find out where they're at and how I can support them.

Their answers are always interesting.  The needs are usually simple things such as a playdate with a friend, a trip to a local event/activity, food, space and time.  The wants are a bit bigger -- such as involvement in a sports league, a chance to visit a local city or park, help with a project or challenge and possibly a new video game or tech toy.  Then, the desires are the deepest -- it's what they want of life-- who they want to be.

I tell them that I'm asking that question because I want to support them in every way I can to help them become happy, good people.  I tell them that happiness usually comes from finding what makes you "tick."  Discovering the work, lifestyle, people and places that make you fully you.  Then I tell them that it's important to me that they're good too - after all they live in this world, they take from this world and it's their job to be a positive contributor to this world too.  I also remind them that I can't fulfill all their wants, needs and desires, and that they'll have to find ways to meet the needs that are out of our realm.  For example, my husband and I chose human service work as our professions -- that was what we wanted and who we were.  Hence, we're not big money makers.  I tell my children, if money is important to you and that's what you want -- study money and make it your goal.  Similarly, when I do something that my children don't like or believe in, I say, "You can make a different choice in your life; you can do it differently than me, but this is what I believe is best at the moment."

I believe Gibran's words, "Your children are not your children" (see below).  I believe it's a parents job to nurture and love their children to the best of their ability, and to help children discover who they are and who they want or are meant to be.  Simply starting with the question, What do you want, need and desire? from the earliest ages begins that conversation in a positive, helpful way.

Try it out.  Let me know what you think?

On Children
 Kahlil Gibran
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.


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