We begin somewhere behind the pack, flying free and without limitations. Quickly we find ourselves moving forward as our life travels up the 'V'.
I think we're remised at not teaching that to the next generation. As some point they either refuse to acknowledge it, thereby skirting responsibility, or they're blindsided by the awareness of it.
Every choice you make limits and directs the choices you have in the future. Slowly, choice by choice, you move ahead in the formation, leaving open air and free form behind you.
What we love to teach is something really quite fictional. You can be anything, do anything.
Sure, in theory maybe. It is a beautiful concept. If you look into the eyes of an infant they appear to hold limitless possibility. Once that infant begins making choices however, that truth changes. Anyone who has written a novel must realize that.
Character A decides at an early age they love the arts. They then need to decide what art they will devote their time to. They choose piano (or it is chosen for them.) They can either continue with it as time goes on, or walk away. The more time that passes, the more choices they give up. Sure, they could still quit, but they can't expect to be a violin virtuoso at some later age. (We tell them they can. But if you switched half way through the story the believability suffers, so does the character.)That piano virtuoso moves to NY and meets a boy. They get married. (There's a tough one!) I say they have made a commitment. Now, no matter who they meet, they have made their choice. They can choose to honor it or not,but to me that is not a fair option. (Although we are quick to teach our children otherwise.)
Ok, our married piano virtuoso decides to start a family. Two years later, and two kids later (yes, they're quick) they get an offer to move to London. The husband would love to, but his work is very specifically in NY. (What? We should expect more flexibility? Sorry, life isn't always like that.) We teach our kids that they can be anything, nothing should hold them back! Their happiness is everything. (Um, sorry, it's a lie.) The truth is, they made choices that limit the choices they have now. They chose a husband, they chose children. To abandon all that for their own interest makes them more of a villan than a hero. So we've taught them that their happiness must be infringed upon (after all we see it as a hinderence and sacrifice, when it is really just being true to our own decisions.) We should find our life and our contentment in the choices we have made, ignoring the choices we don't have, but that is opposite of how we tend to see things.
Character A stays with her family, but she is bitter and angry because she has not become everything she was told she could become. Her children grow, being the source of her loss, not her gain, and when they leave home she leaves her husband. Her children have a strained relationship with her. It affects their decisions and limits their choices in ways they didnt expect. Although they do find it easier to accept their limited choices, because they have seen the hurt caused by someone who doesn't. And life goes on...
We need to do a better job teaching our children cause and effect. Responsibility in our decisions and contentment in our choices. They are not hinderences in life. They are the very fabric it is made from. Embrace the path upon which you have chosen to tread. Run with endurance the race set before you. You cannot be Anything you want. You can be what you have chosen to be and do it well because it is the fabric of you. There is far more valor to be found where you are than where you could have been.