Parenting: how not to do it backwards

As far as I can tell, most of us are trained from an early age to be constantly striving for the next thing: school exam results, a place at a college or university, professional qualifications, a respectable job, the first million, whatever. Then we’ll be able to do whatever we want (so the story goes), and be a success. Whatever that means.

So the model is “have – do – be”. This is what it looks like, when applied to the challenge of parenting: We want to “have” well-behaved and polite children.

When we have that, what we’ll be able to “do” is: eat in public without being humiliated by a mess of food around the table and on the floor / shrieking toddlers / sullen teenagers staring at their iphones. And then we’ll “be”: happy. (Or maybe just temporarily relieved.)

Actually, this is backwards. The wrong way round. As the late Jim Rohn put it: “Success is not to be pursued; it is to be attracted by the person you become.” Who you are being, governs what you do and how you do it, which in turn determines what results you get and what you have. So it’s really “be – do – have.”

It doesn’t just apply to parenting, obviously. It applies to everything.

Who are you being? For me as a parent, if I’m not careful, it can be “mostly-a-softy-with-random-periods-of-discipline.” Who I’m committed to being is “empowering-my-children-to-make-their-own-decisions-and-leading-by-example.”

How about you?

P.S. Who we are “being” for multinational groups is the leading experts in international corporate structuring and intercompany governance. That’s why we produce and publish more materials, articles and templates on the subject than most. To see our current list of resources, click here.