One Definition of Success

As parents, we want our children and teens to grow up and "be successful." But what "being successful" means depends on our definition of "success" in the first place. Obviously "success" means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Our definition of success has become "The Progressive Realization of Moral, Virtuous, or Godly Goals."

As a parent, how are you defining "success" for your children? How do you define "success" for yourself as a parent?

Each of these questions is important for us to think through. Many of us, kids included, only define success in terms of what we have, or what we have accomplished so far in life. Some define success in terms of how society and culture define it, while others have chosen to define "success" through the eyes of God, as best as they can know it.

As for me, I define "success" as "the progressive realization of moral, virtuous, or Godly goals." As I look at my kids and rate their levels of success, or rate myself as their parent, I want to keep in mind what my kids are becoming, rather than what they have accomplished in the past. As long as I can see my kids on a path toward becoming productive and honorable adults, then I will feel successful as a parent.

Parents, please relax a bit.

I want to encourage each of you to take a long term view in regards to your role as parents. I have received many emails from parents of 4, 5, and 6 year old kids who are having trouble with attention span, or coloring within the lines, or reading, or whatever. Please relax.

Focus on getting your child onto a road that will lead them to be productive as adults. Teach your children how to be good fathers and mothers to their own children in the future. Teach your kids how to love and serve other people. These are the major lessons. See life in the context of eternity, and your definition of success will change radically, both for your children and yourself.

Douglas Cowan, Psy.D., is a family therapist who has been working with ADHD children and their families since 1986. He is the clinical director of the ADHD Information Library's family of seven web sites, including http://www.newideas.net, helping over 350,000 parents and teachers learn more about ADHD each year. Dr. Cowan also serves on the Medical Advisory Board of VAXA International of Tampa, FL., is President of the Board of Directors for KAXL 88.3 FM in central California, and is President of NewIdeas.net Incorporated.


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