(This article is part of our series on self awareness)
If you’ve been a parent for any length of time, you’ve probably realized that you just can’t have all the answers. Nobody can!
That said, it is critical that we don’t stop asking questions. Questions make you think. They make you face your doubts and fears. They help you figure out what you want.
So, for today, I’ve put together a list of 20 questions for you to ponder on.
As you look through these questions, remember that there are no right or wrong answers. And they are not presented in any particular order. These are just cues to get you thinking about some of the things that matter, so that when life presents you with tough situations or choices, you are better prepared to handle them. Take you time to mull over each question. And do discuss the ones that most resonate with you in the comments below.
OK, here we go -
1. When your kids grow up, do you want them to be rich, or happy?
Ideally, we want both. But for the heck of it, let’s say you had to choose. Which one would it be? Mansions, expensive cars, fancy stuff and a bottle of anti-depressants; or a modest life filled with genuine smiles?
2. How often do you say “I Love You” unconditionally?
While answering this question, don’t just think of your kids, but your spouse too. How often do you say “I Love You” without expecting anything back in return or without meaning it as an apology?
3. Is crying a sign of strength or weakness?
4. What was the last thing you did with your family where you lost track of time?
Do you spend enough time with each other to form deep bonds, or is all the time spent running from one thing to another? Have you built in enough pauses in your schedule to relish each other’s company?
5. If you had a friend who speaks to you the way you speak to your kids, would you still be friends?
6. Is being a parent a privilege or a chore?
Do you think of it as a blessing or an inconvenience? (Just to put things in perspective, according to the CDC, in the US alone over 6.7 million women struggle with infertility!)
7. Would you prefer that your kids never failed, or never tried?
Is failure disgraceful or is it a learning opportunity? Can you live a fully vibrant life if you don’t try anything new? If your kids don’t learn to try something new in the comfort of your presence, where else can they?
8. What makes you, uniquely you? How about your spouse and kids?
No two people are the same. Have you figured out what is your uniqueness? Have you embraced it? How about the rest of your family? Do you love each other just the way you are – warts and all?
9. What are you holding on to that you need to let go of?
You can only go so far carrying the burden of your past. More than anything else, the way we parent is influenced by our past. What do you need to let go of?
10. If someone made a movie about your family, what would it’s name be?
Would the underlying emotion be that of joy and hope, or gloom and despair? Will it be memorable, or forgettable? Would it be a simple story or a complex saga?
11. Who is writing the story of your family?
Are you handed a script written by the circumstances that you just act out, or do you create your own brilliant story?
12. If you had all the money you needed and then some, what would you be doing with your life?
Agreed, you don’t have all the money you need, but can you carve some time in your schedule to do that one thing that’s your soul work and you do it simply because you love it?
13. Everyone has the same 24 hours. Why is someone able to do some much more with it than others?
On the one end, we have visionaries who change the world. On the other, we have you and me who can hardly keep up . What makes our perception of time so different from theirs?
14. How well do you sleep?
There is tons of research linking the quality of your sleep and the quality of your life (and health). Are you sacrificing your sleep at the altar of productivity, success and money (leading to high stress)?
15. Do you learn from your mistakes or do you beat yourself up about it?
How about the mistakes your spouse and kids make? Can you think of anyone who has never made mistakes? Maybe practising grace and kindness is a better option?
16. If you were to die without notice, what will your kids remember about you? What do you want them to remember about you?
Gory, I know. But it could happen. And the only time you can do anything about it is now.
17. If death gave you 10 more years to live but you would have to be completely disconnected from your family, would you make the trade?
What if you could not be with them but knew how they were doing? What if you could not even know how they were doing? What if they were gone, but only you could survive?
18. Are you trying to be better than everyone around you, or better than the person you were yesterday?
What is your reason for reading these questions? Why do your read this blog (or any other self improvement site for that matter)? What do you want from it all?
19. When your kids are in trouble, will they run to you or hide from you?
Would you rather be able to help when your kids are in big trouble, or would you rather they sort it out by themselves? Do you scream and scare the cr*p out of them when they make little mistakes or do you teach them that it is OK to approach you?
20. Do you encourage your kids to pursue their dreams or yours?
How often do your kids grumble about doing something that ought to be fun, and you respond “You don’t realize how lucky you are! I never had the opportunity to [...]”? Are you pushing your unrequited dreams on them?
The 2-Minute Action Plan for Fine Parents
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that this is where I ask you some pointed questions so you can figure out how to apply what you have read in your daily life. But considering I’ve already asked close to 100 questions today, I will spare you the overload
Just take the next couple of minutes to discuss the ones that most resonated with you in the comments below. We’re building a nice little community here, and your thoughts can not just help you, but me and a whole bunch of other readers as well!
The Ongoing Action Plan for Fine Parents
If you are reading this as soon as it is published: We are are at the cusp of one year ending and another one starting. It’s an exciting time, if nothing else then for the simple reason that it makes you think, wish and hope for good days to come, or better days to continue! As you step into that new year, keep these questions at the back of your mind. They will help you to understand what you want for yourself and your family going forward. Happy New Year! I can’t wait to speak to you again as we tackle the wonderful topic of “happiness” throughout the month of January! I have put together some incredible articles that are changing my perspective in some amazing ways, and I know you’re going to love them! (You are signed up to receive notifications of new articles, aren’t you?)!
If you read this at a later date: As you go about your day, and you respond to the little challenges your kids throw at you, think of these questions. When you are stressed out and screaming at your kids, step into their shoes and try to see yourself from their eyes, and ask yourself, is this how I want them to remember me? Whether you are randomly browsing or channel surfing late in the night; or trying to get the chores/office work done, ask yourself am I willing to pay the price (or make my kids pay it!) tomorrow for staying up late now? And so on. You’ll be amazed at how much a little bit of clarity and perspective can improve the kind of parent you are, and the overall happiness of you family!
A great big thanks to Marc and Angel Chernoff from MarcAndAngel.com for inspiring this post! Here are some of the wonderful posts that they have published on their site before -
- 50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind
- 25 Beautifully Illustrated Thought-Provoking Questions
- 40 Photo-Illustrated Questions to Refocus Your Mind
- 40 Questions Everyone is Afraid to Ask
All images in this post are from fotolia.com. A huge big hat tip for these wonderful artists (in the order of the photos) for taking these fantastic photographs and making them available through fotolia for bloggers like me – mariiya, gitusik, Apple, Friedberg, ArtFamily, Serhiy Kobyakov, DM7, Eric Isselée, Anyka, flas100, brat82, Sergey Nivens, pio3, deviantART, giideon, Apple, Laurin Rinder, olly, xavier gallego morel and Ilya Zaytsev!20 Beautifully Illustrated, Thought Provoking Questions that Will Make You a Great Parent in 2014 by Sumitha Bhandarkar