In mistake #4, we mentioned that health (or lack thereof) is not the worst thing to happen. It’s not that your children’s health is not an important issue, it’s just it should not be THE MOST IMPORTANT issue.
This is no small matter, since you are worrying about their health more than they, you will be viewed as the problem.
The reason we parents tend to do this, is because it’s not their health we are seeking, it’s their illness we are avoiding. The anguish we go through when we see them ill, is often debilitating for us: it’s very unsettling and we can’t think straight. So we seek their health, not because we necessarily want them to be healthy, but because we don’t want to worry.
If this is the case, your relationship with your children will likely become antagonistic. Such parents will often say, “As long as you have your health you have everything.” They are referring to their children, not themselves.
If you have your health you have far from everything. I don’t think I know anyone who is happy just being healthy. We need a lot more in life to feel fulfilled.
And so in sum, to make health the supreme goal for our children, is to negate their happiness as a meaningful goal. And so, you are negating them.
So, what is greater than health? It’s the same goals we have for ourselves. I will state two:
1) Happiness. We should want them to be happy. But here again, we can fall into the negative trap. The negative being, that we don’t necessarily focus on trying to help them be happy, rather we emphasize not wanting them to be depressed.
In other words, if you are trying to avoid their depression you will have a very different plan and be far less effective than if you seek their happiness.
You can’t live meaningfully trying to avoid depression, living well is only had when you seek happiness. Similarly our goals for our children have to be driven for the positive, not the lack of the negative.
2) Seeking to fulfill their potential.
But let me give you a little heads-up here, if you are not trying to live to your own potential, you won’t have a clue how to help your children.
So, in answer, the worst thing that can happen to our children is that we will one day look at them and think, “You wasted your life.” If you want to avoid that day, then make sure it can’t be said about your life.