Raising kids is like having a bunch of parrots–or instant replay monitors–or whatever other metaphor applies to seeing a reflection of your own behavior lived out right in front of you. Like when one of your kids scolds another one of your kids for bothering him, his voice ripe with condescension, and you scold him for too. Except 4 words in to your monologue you realize you are doing the exact same your kid was doing. And he’s looking at you, confused, wondering what is wrong. He is just copying your behavior.
I have a 13-year-old son. He has a phone. He is always on his phone, or his Xbox. When there is nothing to do, there is a screen in front if his face. He swipes more than he types, or takes photos, or does any other output. It drives me nuts. Why is he wasting so much time? Why does he consume so much more than he creates? Why doesn’t he go outside and play. And I tell him. He looks at me, confused, wondering what is wrong. He is just copying my behavior.
I have a laundry list of things I want to do–things my ideal self-image does. My ideal self is a writer, a teacher, a strong leader, a programmer. My ideal self works hard every day, has a strong group of friends and a giant business network.
The real me spends too much time learning–my euphemism for consumption. There is more information in my brain, information that I have consumed, than I could take action on in a decade. Still, I look for new things to learn. The content criteria gets lax. I am wasting time.
I see it in my kids, in the way they choose to spend their time. They are a reflection of my poor habits–my good ones too, yes–but it’s the poor habits that limit us in life. I can’t allow this to continue, and I can’t change it with words that don’t match behavior.
So I want to change my relationship with learning. Learning through action, through creation, through building things and making a contribution. Learning to work through fear and imposter syndrome and quieting the inner critic.
Learning through action.