Continuing to ponder yesterday’s theme of parenting goals, here’s another angle: what things are NOT on my list?

For example, there is nothing on my list about things I want my children to do or to like. There are things I would like them to do, but these things are not important enough to make it onto the list. Their own choices are more important. I would not agree with their choices, I would be puzzled perhaps, but I would not feel like I’ve failed them as a parent.

Enjoying learning new things, or reading, or writing. Being creative. Being successful. Getting a higher education. Good things, all of them, each in their own way, and the Internet has lots of people who want these and similar things for their children.

But if my children consciously choose to not go in that direction, that is OK. If they decide to live a quiet life on a small farm in the middle of the forest, cut off from society, not learning anything new, that’s fine. If they decide to skip higher education and instead focus on some personal project, that’s fine. As long as they do this because they really want to, and have thought through the long-term implications.

Then there are the things that I don’t agree with, that I specifically do NOT want for them.

I don’t want obedience. I don’t want faith.

I don’t want self-sufficiency. Independent thinking and decision-making, yes. Being able to take care of themselves, yes. But I do not want the kind of self-sufficiency that seems prevalent in some parts of Western society, where the ideal is that you shouldn’t really need anybody. I think it is perfectly OK to need other people in your life, to want intimacy, to ask for help.