Expose each generation

What does it mean to be exposed to something? 

I watched with pride, this past week the coverage of the Olympics.  I was proud of all the participants who had toiled over the past four years or more to get to this spot.

But to see Gabby Davis and Cullen Jones made me as a father especially proud.

Cullen Jones almost drowned as a kid at a waterpark.  His mom’s solution was to enroll him in a swimming class.  Gabby Davis mom, made the decision to let her move to Iowa so that she could be trained by the best.  They exposed those kids to something that they could never see themselves doing.  They took the next generation to another level. 

I applaud both parents because not only did they want the best for their kids, they exposed them to experiences that they never would have been able to achieve had not been for that. 

I know so many bright and talented people that are stuck in the safe zone.  They never even give thought to moving out of that comfort zone.  Had they been put in a situation early in their lives that would have stretched them, there is not telling where they would have ended up on their journe. 

I grew up in a small town in the south.  I know people that I grew up with, that have lived there entire life there.  They never wanted to move away and explore the world.  They had all the capabilities to do it but never did.  Never had that sense of curiosity. 

There was a young man in that town that I mentored who had so many ideas but he just could not pull himself to move away.  It surely was not going to happen there.  He went to Atlanta to go to college but came back after the first semester.  He said he was “home sick”.

We have to give our kids a more thirst for exploration,  a thirst for going out into the world and trying new things.

Gabby Davis wanted to pursue her dream and literally moved away to Iowa.  As a parent would you have made that decision?  Surely if we knew the outcome, we would have agreed wholeheartedly.  But life does not work that way.  You head down a road with a dream, hoping that the destination it leads to is where you want to be.

But you know what,  even if it would not have worked out she would have been better off in life if for no other reason, learning to live on her own.  I sent my daughter to Europe for a summer when she was around 8th grade.  She did not want to go.  Her grandmothers did not want her to go.  She cried at the airport.  But my wife and I felt that she needed to see the world.  I wanted her to get a global experience at an early age.

She traveled throughout Europe for the great part of the summer.  SHE ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT.  She is now out of college and always tells that story as to how she is so glad that we made her go.  We exposed her to something that we had never done.  Her goal is to move back to London and live.  Hooray for her.

In your case, it may not be Europe, but what can you do to expose them to more?  It may be a swim lesson, it could be tennis lesson or a leadership retreat.  There are a whole lot of choices for our young people today that could just maybe spark that interest.

We all have the capabilities of being the type parents that take our kids to a level that we were not exposed to.  Even if we have to sacrifice in our own lives to made it happen.

My father would always tell me and my brothers that “each generation must do better than the next generation” Every generation of immigrants have lived by this mantra, some more so than others.

What are you doing for your next generation to take them over and above what you have done?

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