During my childhood and teenage years there were several situations where my parents supported or encouraged me to do what I believed in. They were never been pushy or restricted me to do only the things I was ‘good’ at. I tried being a runner, a dancer, a basketball player, an ecologist, a politician, a teacher and many more. They taught me that trying new challenges and taking risks are good for my personal development. Even when I moved to another city hundreds miles away from home to study I could still feel their supportive hands on my shoulders.
There was one very significant situation which truly created my positive ‘I can do’ attitude. I will never forget it…
It was during the summer holiday when I was nearly 17. I decided to earn my own pocket money without my parents help and started looking for summer jobs in my town. After a couple of days of looking I had a bright idea – there must be some summer jobs at the tourist resorts! I searched the internet and found my dream summer job, a souvenir seller at a sea resort 600km away. When I told my parents they were more than terrified and had dozens of questions: did the employer exist, is it a real job, how would I get there, what about accommodation and so on. I was convinced that they wouldn’t let me go. However I was determined, I earned my bus fare by doing gardening for a neighbour and found out more details to convince my parents to let me go. My granny provided some food supplies and I promised my parents I’d call them every night. They were still scared but told me: ‘we trust and believe in you and you are old enough to take responsibility for yourself. You can go.’
And I went! I ended up being cheated by my employer who only paid me half the promised wages and I learnt that I should have agreed a contract. My parents did not criticize my mistake and were actually proud of me and said ‘next time you will be more aware of things that may happen’.
It was a great life lesson that my parents let me experience. They understood my needs, let me try new challenges and make my own decisions and mistakes. I am now a more responsible, thoughtful person who always tries to support others. I learned these values from my parents. Their positive attitude, trust, understanding and support shaped my character.
Parents can be such important role models in their child’s life and should never underestimate the impact they will have on their son or daughter’s values, character and life choices.