We All Have to Do Things We Don't Wanna Do... or Do We?

Updated: Jul 15, 2019

I often hear parents say "we all have to learn to do things we don't like" as a justification for some of the things we require children to do.

I actually do believe "we all have to learn to do things we don't like" but for me the context, degree of choice and the amount of time spent in things we love vs. hate is everything. Let me explain.

Have you ever pursued a dream or something that you really did want to do? Did you not find multiple barriers on that path - challenges, hurt feelings, hardships associated with following that dream? My experience has been that even when you're living fully aligned with your heart doing only want you want, life gives us enough hard knocks to learn from.

Generally speaking, I don't believe we need to manufacture hard stuff (e.g. you have to go to X, Y, Z to learn how sucky life is) on top of what life gives us when there are alternatives.

But don't you owe it to yourself to explore options if you are forcing yourself to do something you hate 5 or more hours a day? What values about life are you committed to (and modeling to your children) in your own choices?

I do realize that sometimes there just aren't alternatives. Parents need to work, or don't have the resources to do something differently. And that's a different situation. Though truthfully even when there are no alternatives, there are usually options for the mindset we adopt while we are doing the thing we don't like. And also in how we use our hours outside of that mandatory job or school.

Sometimes I hear people say that our kids have to learn how to do things they don't like before they've even considered looking for uplifting learning experiences for their kids (or themselves).

If you have used those words, I invite you to explore the nuances of that idea in more depth.

How many hours a day should any individual have to do something that isn't a good fit for them (especially a child)? What is the relationship in your own life between a topic or activity that you don't enjoy and the quality of learning you receive in that environment? Where is the line between "I don't like this" and "this situation makes me feel like crap and is hurting me"?

None of these questions have black and white answers. That's why they are challenging.

I continue to carry each of those questions with me and the answers guide where I'm at each year in what I require of my son, vs. what I invite him to do.

What is your exploration revealing?