Do you want your children to admire you? How about worshipful attention? Are the two differentiable?
Worshipful attention appears sweet until, like sugar, it has negative impact. Happily, I watched Shakespeare’s King Lear before begetting children. I knew it was important for my children to differentiate between leadership that deserved respect and leadership that needed forgiving. Their selection mattered, and fortunately they chose well what to follow and what to forgive. Looking back, I cringe with King Lear at many episodes I thought at the time were praiseworthy. It is good that they can set aside much of what I said, because I have also set it aside.
This article is not about praising my children’s advanced understanding; their wisdom is its own reward. Today’s call to action is to perceive reality as it unfolds. We have previously noted that we live in worlds of our own creation. My maturation has consisted of entering a more understanding world. My children, with more modern education, had preceded me into it. They were able to see me from a more contemporary (even if subordinate) perspective. In short, we learn from our children.
How blessed would be the world if citizens were as understanding as my children, and if leaders were able to learn. We subordinates sometimes need to be rescued from our follies by leaders with greater experience. Nevertheless, wise leaders are the ones who, like wise parents, forsake dictatorship and experience progress along with the subordinates who have more contemporary education and aspiration. My children adapted my vision to the next generation of practical realities. Likewise, on a world scale, effective leaders are the ones with vision that can be adapted to ever evolving modernity.
This is summarized in the wisdom of Lao-Tzu:
Go to the people. Live with them. Learn from them. Love them. Start with what they know. Build with what they have. But with the best leaders, when the work is done, the task accomplished, the people will say 'We have done this ourselves.’