Friday, January 11, 2013

Martin Luther King or Bill Gates

One day as I got down on my knees and prayed, a benevolent voice whispered to me and said, “MJ, you will receive a gift.” Instead of asking who or what the voice is, I got very excited with the prospect that I might receive a windfall of riches and fame. So I asked, “What’s the gift?”

The voice answered, “You will have the chance to determine one of your children’s future.”
Ok, so the gift is not for me it’s for one of my children. This is even better.  I gleefully asked for more details. The voice obliged.

“First you must choose which of your children will receive the gift. Then you have to decide which path your chosen child will take. There are two paths. The first path is a path that Martin Luther King journeyed and the second path is the road that Bill Gates traveled. Your child’s chosen path will have the same triumphs, struggles, rewards, and sacrifices as the person who first lived it.”


It’s already hard enough to choose which child to pick but the different paths has made it more difficult. I asked the voice if I can have at least an hour to maul over my choices. The voice said, “No problem.”

If I pick MLK, then I know for sure what will happen to my child. But his life affected so many people and has literally changed the course of American society and arguably changed the world. If I were to choose MLK, then my daughter, The Family Genius, with be perfect for his life. Like MLK, the Family Genius has the huge capacity to do what’s right. She has an unwavering conviction that will not sacrifice her integrity and good sense. She also has the ability to organize and galvanize people to work for a common cause.

Now if I decide to go with Bill Gates, The Prodigal Son would definitely fit the bill. Like Gates, The Prodigal Son, has the knack for business and the ability to recognize a need and be able to meet that need with speed and efficiency.  The Prodigal Son will be focused in growing his business and money but in the end like Gates, he will give them away through philanthropic means. He may not admit that he has a kind and generous heart but he does. His kindness is immense.

In my deep thoughts, I didn't notice that my one hour has run out. The voice pressed me to make a decision. And so I did.

I chose to selfishly keep my daughter and I decided on Bill Gates and The Prodigal Son.

Of course in reality, there was no voice and there were no paths to choose.

This whole exercise is about knowing your children’s abilities and capacities. We may have dreams about what we want our children to be when they grow up. We may even want to choose their paths for them.  In the end however, our children will become who they are. It’s our job and responsibility to recognize our children’s abilities and help them develop these abilities.

We may want to protect them from the world but we cannot and must not because in doing so we will be depriving them of their destiny. We have to remember that as parents, like Martin Luther King and Bill Gates parents, we are the original “Life Coaches.” Our job is to help with their life game plan and guide them through life practice. 

And when it is game time, we have to let them play.

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