By Marion Roaman
I’ve made some really misinformed choices in my life. There have been YEARS of my life spent laboring away at the wrong career choice. I was lucky to make it home several nights in my youth, thanks to choosing to surround myself with the wrong people. I ‘chose’ not to finish college, because I couldn’t ‘choose’ what to focus my attention on.
Though these decisions were misguided and at times seem catastrophic, the interesting thing is, they all lead me to where I am today: a very happy, successful, and calm place.
That said, perhaps if I had made better choices I would I have arrived to this place more quickly or not hurt myself so much along the way. As a parent, I feel it is my responsibility to help my children make smart choices and strong decisions so that they can live to their fullest potential every day.
It starts with the little things
Call me annoying, but I truly do find every moment ‘teachable’. I started to notice this when my kids were toddlers. Even this early on, I recognized the balance between EMPOWERING my kids to make their own choice(s), and HELPING them understand why that was the right or wrong choice. With this came tons of FEAR. I had to let go of the reigns a bit. I had to force myself to step back, and watch if they did (and of course they do at times) make the wrong choice. But I knew, this is how we build trust, and they knew, I would be there to catch them if the wrong choice had been made. Better yet, I would be there to celebrate if the right choice had been made!
Building on that trust
Trust is everything. Trust is at the foundation of successful businesses, thriving relationships, parents and children, and most importantly, within ourselves. If we do not trust ourselves to make smart decisions, we are left feeling conflicted and full of self-doubt. In order for our children to make smart decisions, they must trust themselves. However, this does not happen overnight. For instance, if you give a toddler the freedom to climb a tree on their own (toddlers tend to want to do it ALL ALONE!!), and then they fall, what is the lesson there? As a caretaker, if we assist the toddler in shaking it off, standing up tall, and getting back up that tree — maybe even with a little help this time, we have now taught an important lesson. Yes, you can TRUST YOURSELF to choose to climb the tree, you might fall and maybe even hurt yourself, but you can TRUST that I will be here if you fall and I will HELP you get back up that tree. Eventually, the toddler will be climbing that tree without falling and without your help. But look at that lesson:
1) decide to climb the tree
2) try it on your own
3) realize you need some help
4) accept help
5) with help, gain independence
6) trust yourself and others
Okay Toddlers and Trees, but what about the big decisions?
Throughout the years, the tree example becomes bigger and more ‘important’. Social pressures start to influence our children’s decisions. Eventually, decisions they make in school seem to have a direct impact on their future. There is a debatable trend in parenting: Are we ‘friends’ to our children or are we ‘PARENTS’. The truth is, what we are to our children are people who have more experience then they do. So it is, in my opinion, conflicting when we behave at their level. Our children need somewhere to go when they make the wrong decision, and they need somewhere to look (even if they try to act as if they are not looking) when they make the right decision. When we give our child the moment to decide what to do that Saturday night, and we are clenching our fists and gritting our teeth because we KNOW, we just KNOW, it is the wrong decision, we have to give them the power to CHOOSE what they want. If it turns out it was the wrong decision (you KNEW it!!!) we are there, on the other side to help them understand why. Like a mouse in a maze, our kids may take this wrong turn several times until they finally see the right way — but through patience, perseverance, and TRUST, it will be found.
Once the lesson is learned
Once the lesson is learned, It is on to the next one. But the bottom line is, with each step or misstep, a little more independence and a lot more trust has been built. Ultimately, if our children can enter the world independent and knowing they can trust their caretakers to be there when they need us, then eventually with the empowerment they have earned and worked for, WE can TRUST THEM to choose the right career path, the right life partners, and so on…
The Formula: Trust = Empowerment = Smart Choices
As Co-Founder/Chief Content Officer of Peloton Cycle, and General Manager at the Peloton Studio, Marion Berrian Roaman hopes to change the world of fitness, health, and wellness. As a pioneer in this industry for most her life, this marriage of tech and fitness will take her mission to the next level. Marion is also a Health and Wellness Coach, a trained chef, and an aspiring designer. Her proudest accomplishment is making her family all laugh and smile at the same time. Her husband Mike, her two children Oliver and Reese, and their three dogs, James, Callie, and Lucy all live between NYC and Amagansett, NY.