Raising Boys? Helpful Tips On Identity
Do you know what it means to be your “authentic self?” Do you know your son’s unique “gift?”
Many times, I see young men that are depressed, insecure, and frankly unsure of “who” they really are. They feel no matter what they do it isn’t good enough. They are constantly trying to live up to a parent(s) expectations by being what their parent(s) wants them to be. Ask yourself, are you that parent?
One process we work through in The Quest Project® is identifying the “gift.” It’s what makes us special and unique. I’ve witnessed many young men work hard and make great progress in their search to identify their “authentic self,” which begins by knowing our gift!
They begin to contemplate “who is the man I’m going to become.” They discover just how important, gifted and unique they are. And the result is, they feel liberated!
Webster defines liberate this way:
“to free (someone or something) from being controlled by another person, group, etc. To give freedom or more freedom to someone. To take or steal something.”
That’s what happens when you allow someone to be what they’re meant to be, not try and force them to live your dream, or live the life you wish you had. I see parents all the time who are trying to live vicariously through their children, and their children are miserable as a result.
There is an internal feeling that boys experience very naturally as they enter adolescence, I call it “The Drift.” They begin to imagine what kind of man they’ll become. The Drift takes them towards Dad, or towards NOT Dad! To help visualize it I use this analogy:
“your adolescent son is drifting along the river in a canoe, he comes to a fork (adolescence). If he chooses left it is towards “being like dad.” If he chooses right it is not “being like dad.” What he doesn’t know or realize is there is a third choice on his journey; to continue on-straight ahead stopping the drift and choosing “his authentic self.” There he can choose the BEST STUFF and give back the negative!”
After all he is not his father but his father’s son. It’s very important as a parent to help your son be his authentic self and recognize his “gift.” Talk to your teenager and ask him what he believes is his gift-that’s where you start. He will know what it is; what he needs is for you to listen and support him.
The Right Path
Parents believe they are responsible to set their child on the right path; I couldn’t agree more IF that “path” is right for the child.
Did your parents allow you to go in the direction you wanted based on your “gift?”
My unique gift is my mission “to create healthy lifestyles by teaching, facilitating, writing, research and example.”