You Can’t Do Anything You Want

We always tell our youth that they can do anything, that they can become anything they want to. Is this the right message to give them? It is a lie.

We can’t do anything we want. I know from experience. I have failed at a lot of things that I have wanted to do. It doesn’t mean that I quit. It means that I dust myself off, pick myself up and try again. If I continue to fail, it serves as a wake-up call and I just know that I am not meant to do that activity. This isn’t a failure.

If we perpetrate the notion that children can achieve anything they desire we might actually be doing them a disservice. We set them up for failure. They will fail and they will think that they are a failure because they should’ve been able to do anything. They won’t come to realize the lie for quite some time and it will be a blow to their sense of self-worth.

I came to this realization when I was watching Gilmore Girls this week. Rori graduated college and was unable to get a job in her field. It sent her into a downward spiral and she had a bit of a melt down. When her mother tried to cheer her up, she just yelled at her and said, “It’s all your fault. You told me I could do anything.”

Interesting, isn’t it? Now I know that this was fiction but I can understand why someone might actually feel that way and say that to their mother. So instead of telling kids that they can accomplish anything, maybe we should tell them that they have a purpose. They will need to find it out themselves. They need to work hard and discover what it is that they are meant to do.

I think life is a journey and that everyone can find something that they are good at. I happen to feel mediocre at a lot of the things I do. I can do things, however average, and have accomplished a lot in my relatively short time on this planet. I am sure I will accomplish a lot more, but it is not because my parents told me I could do anything. It is because they had faith in me. They had patience to let me figure things out on my own. And lastly, they always supported me. That’s what kids need; honesty, faith, patience, and support. Let’s give them that and I’m sure they will find their way in this world.