The biggest mistake she sees parents making

The biggest mistake she sees parents making


By Becky Mansfield

Today, I shared an article on my Facebook page about Esther, a mother of three. The article was titled, “I raised two successful CEOs and a doctor – here’s one of the biggest mistakes I see parents making.”

Many people have asked her what she did (or didn’t do) to raise successful children, and she said that she raised them to be kind, to care about others and to help in their community.

So simple, yet so meaningful.

Success looks different to all of us, but I think that we can all agree that someone who is helping others and doing what they can to benefit the world is successful.   Helping others and thinking of others takes the focus off of “WHAT DO I WANT?” and onto “WHAT CAN I DO?” 

That’s what it takes to be successful: finding ways to help others solve their problems, being the support that others can count on, and working hard to make a difference. 

In the article, Esther writes: “Kids are growing up feeling like they’re the center of the universe. As young adults, they’re not only lacking grit and independence; they’re wholly unprepared to take on causes that could make the world a better place.

I’ve met lots of unhappy millionaires and even some unhappy billionaires. A lot of them probably started out as directionless kids.  They tend to focus on money because they think it will make them happy and fulfilled.

It’s the American idea: Get rich, then do nothing. Sit on a beach. Go out for an expensive dinner. Go to Las Vegas. But these kinds of pursuits turn people into narcissists and thrill addicts… people who worry about themselves before anyone else.

They don’t prioritize the good of the community, they don’t fight for social causes and they aren’t pursuing a life of meaning and purpose.

As a result, they often end up isolated and depressed. I’ve met lots of unhappy millionaires and even some unhappy billionaires. A lot of them probably started out as directionless kids.

Think about when your kids make something for you or someone else – they feel so good about themselves. It brings such joy to their hearts and their faces. 

In the coming weeks, my family and I are using my friend’s ideas and directions to make gifts for others: All of the details are found here on her blog post about Homemade Gifts. We are planning on spending a day making these things for other people. We will be putting a lot of time and thought into these gifts, and I want our kids to see that it matters.

I will also be having our kids volunteer to read to younger kids in other schools. The schools in our areas have different dates for breaks, so we are off while other local schools are in session.  This makes it a great time to volunteer to be a “Special Reader.”

 “Teenagers who volunteer with younger children experience both decreased negative moods and cardiovascular risk, according to a 2013 study. Another study, from 2016, found that teenagers who performed volunteer work were significantly less likely to engage in illegal behaviors and also had fewer convictions and arrests between the ages of 24 and 34” – Esther Wojcicki

A woman and a boy doing dishes.

Be it reading to others, making things to give to others, donating to causes that they believe in, or helping others in their way; I want our kids to see that they can make a difference. 

I’ll end with Esther’s words: “You’re happiest — as well as most beneficial to society — when you’re doing things to help others.” 


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