Are you raising an unreasonable child? This is not a trick question. I don’t work for the Department of Child and Family Services. I’m not attempting to get you to make a confession that will implicate you and/or your child in some illegality. To my knowledge, and hopefully yours, your child hasn’t broken any laws.
Instead, my goal is straight forward. My question is honest. I have no ulterior motives. I only want to know if you are raising an unreasonable child.
You may not be convinced about the veracity of my proclaimed intentions. It’s okay, I don’t blame you. In the words of the great Jerry Maguire “We live in a cynical world. A cynical world.” The worst part about the world many of us reside in is that our world often makes us distrust long before we are willing to believe. Our world makes us give up long before we ever get started.
So it’s understandable how at first glance, you are probably thinking that this is an inquiry about how difficult your child is at and away from home. You might think this is an investigation about your child’s ability to play well with others. Perhaps you think this is a survey to assess whether you are raising another “entitled millennial”.
Despite how logical and practical your intuition may seem, you are way off base, if you think my query is about regression. This is not about pointing fingers to prove that you are a bad parent. Nor is this a ploy to show that your children are responsible for the deterioration of society. If my query is about anything the one thing, the only thing is progress!
George Bernard Shaw
In 1903, George Bernard Shaw wrote “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” More than one-hundred and ten years ago, the Irish playwright and co-founder of the London School of Economics made the assertion that remains irrefutable today. The world has never progressed without unreasonable people.
Mankind’s history is replete with example after example of unreasonable people who made it possible for the world to progress. From Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press; Marie Curie’s x-ray machine (first female Nobel Prize recipient and first Nobel Prize winner in two different categories); Thomas Edison’s phonograph, motion picture camera, and everyday electric light bulb; Rosa Park’s refusal to give up her seat which ignited the Civil Rights movement; Alexander Graham Bell’s practical telephone; Ada Lovelace’s notes which are widely recognized as the first computer program; to Sir Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin – people all over the world chose the path of most resistance, to be trailblazers, to suffer scorn and ridicule, to be unreasonable for the progress and benefit of you and me.
Little Has Changed
Today, there are a crop of new unreasonable people who are attempting to help the world progress. In fact, there are countless – mostly unknown – people who continue to think outside the box to make the world a better place for you and me.
Among these modern-day do-gooders who live in relative obscurity are people such as:
- Jane Chen – founder of Embrace, a company whose goal is to help save the lives of low birth weight and premature infants by distributing an inexpensive and effective infant warmer in conjunction with education programs that address the root causes of neonatal hypothermia.
- Josh Nesbit – founder of Medic Mobile, a company that exists to improve health in under-served communities using mobile technology.
- Rebecca Onie – founder of Health Leads, a company that has a 1,000 or so volunteers (all college – undergrads) who work with hospitals and clinics to help patients navigate language barriers and the bureaucratic jungle to get the services they need.
- Tom Szaky – founder of Terracycle, a company that exists to eliminate the idea of waste (create a world of zero waste).
These are just a small sampling of people who have committed themselves to helping the world progress. These are just some of the children who were raised and/or grew up unreasonable so that you and I could live in a progressive and better world.
Although there are many more unreasonable people like Jane, Josh, Rebecca and Tom, the numbers are still insufficient. This too is irrefutable, the world can never have enough unreasonable people. If humanity desires to reach its full potential, parents are going to need to raise far more unreasonable children.
Signs You Are Raising An Unreasonable Child
If you are still unsure whether you are raising an unreasonable child, I have a few questions I would like you to consider. Ask yourself do you and/or your child possess any of these ten qualities?
- Want to make the world a better place;
- Always dreaming of creative and innovative ways to help others;
- Value people far above money or material goods;
- Refuse to acknowledge the existence of the words “can’t” and “impossible”;
- Motivated, fueled and draw strength when referred to as the crazy ones, misfits, rebels, troublemakers, round pegs in the square holes, etc…;
- Respect the value of all life including and especially the least fortunate;
- Consider it a sign of disrespect to the Great Creator not use personal and innate gifts and talents to their maximum ability and for the greatest good;
- Perpetually grounded in the present and seize each day as if it was the last day;
- Won’t stay down or quit no matter how many times knock down or fail; and
- Can’t find satisfaction or contentment by one good deed or one success.
Now that you know the characteristics of an unreasonable child, you can take a deep breath. The authorities will not be knocking on your door – at least not to my knowledge. Now that you know raising an unreasonable child is not a bad thing and that all human progress depends on unreasonable people, you can safely answer the question I asked you at the very beginning. Are you raising an unreasonable child?
Are you raising a child to be average or extraordinary? Are you a parenting model of give no less than our best effort or a parenting model of do just enough to get by?