Having a child is not a chance for a do-over. Children are separate beings, and while they may have some of your traits, they are not you, and they are always going to be growing up in a vastly different world than the one in which you grew up. Have you seen the list of world events that occurred between 1910 and 1960? Or thought about the fact that 1970 is as close to 1918 as to 2022?

I often remind myself of the above when my children insist on doing things their way despite my telling them “learn from my mistakes” stories. How could they? My stories are a unique combination of “me” interacting in the vastly different world I grew up in. My children could never replicate my life.

So knowing this, I no longer ask my children want they want to do when they grow up (they are getting this question a lot more lately – my eldest is going into grade 11 next year, and my youngest is going into his first year of high school).

Instead, I ask them how they want to be and how they want to experience life.

And yes, I’m encouraging them to be kind and empathetic but also to hold to who they are.