Hi, my name is Kimberly. Nice to meet you. What do you do?”
These are words we’re programmed to ask when we meet someone new. But why is that? Are we really what we do? Is what we do who we are? Nine times out of 10, it isn’t.
Most of us aren’t in a line of work that best describes us, yet it’s so important to know the answer to those questions. Wouldn’t it be more accurate or appropriate to ask, “how do you like to spend your time?” or “do you have a passion in life?”
You’ve heard me say over and over that, as parents, our modeling behavior is the best teaching opportunity we have with our kids. What are we showing our children when we model these types of questions? By asking someone what they do, are we projecting to our children that our identity should lay within an action or an outcome? What are we doing as parents, as a society, to help inspire self-esteem, value and self-worth?
Since I started MASK in 2007, I’ve been able to truly dissect behaviors and actions to help me recognize how things can impact children. Society has impressed on children the labels of sports and beauty—clearly creating a line of separation between boys and girls.
Boys are accepted by what sport they play and girls are noticed by how they look or what they wear. What about the children who are outside of the lines? How about the boy who dances or the girl who plays football? How are they viewed? And what are our initial reactions as adults or, better yet, what are the reactions of their peers?
Self-worth shouldn’t come from outlets or outcomes; it is something that develops from character. As parents, we spend hours at sporting events and buying name brands for our kids, but how much time do we take to help them develop their character, their morals, their choices, their dreams, their own thoughts? At the end of the day, these are the important attributes that will help them be who they were meant to be.
Whether your child is that All-Star, Beauty Queen or the someone in between, be sure that when they take off their labels, there’s more to them than meets the eye.