Be the person you want your child to grow up to be

One of the greatest life gifts my parents gave me was the dialogue throughout my childhood that I could be or do anything I wanted. They were so convincing that I believed them. The conversations weren’t comprised entirely of sunshine, rainbows and unicorns, but were instead always very matter of fact. If I wanted to do something, there wasn’t doubt that it could be done. My parents encouraged me to research it, figure out how to make it happen, and then do it.

Later in life I learned that not all families are so supportive and that my own was probably more the exception than the rule. It was only after realizing that did I become more purposeful and aware of what I was teaching my own daughter.

I don’t want to just give lip service to my daughter on the matter. I want to show her that she can determine what she wants and go after it. I’m not going to blow sunshine and give her the unrealistic expectation that it will always work out, but I want her to recognize the value in trying, and that whether she succeeds or fails, she’s better off for trying.

Who do I want her to be? I want her to be confident in who she is and courageous in what she believes. I want her to be kind and considerate. I want her to be fearless. I want her to take calculated risks and be brave enough to go after what she wants in life. I want her to be able to pick herself up and try again when she fails.

My daughter with my mom, who taught me that I could be and do anything I wanted.

So, how do I teach her these things? I have to be these things. I have to show her how to be fearless and how to be brave enough to go after what I want and try again even if I don’t succeed the first time. I have to be the person I want her to grow up to be. Even when I’m tired or discouraged or just don’t want to care anymore because it’s too overwhelming. It means I have to purposefully plan and do in my life and not just let life happen to me. It means that in being a good role model for my daughter, I have to put forth the effort to live my best life in a way that’s true and authentic. In the end and throughout, we will both be better for it.

About Shanna Goodman

Shanna Goodman is a writer, reader, dreamer (and doer), mom, blogger, marketing professional, and all time klutz. She recently pushed herself out of her comfort zone by vowing to do one new thing a month and lived to tell about it in the book Dignity is a Renewable Resource, available now on Amazon, and

Shanna blogs about the business of books at and will soon be blogging about the business of life at

Read about the book at:

Learn more about Dignity is a Renewable Resource by following Shanna’s (mis)adventures on Facebook at:

21 Responses to Be the person you want your child to grow up to be
  1. Beth
    May 28, 2012 | 3:29 pm

    What a great reminder! I try to do this, but am not as consistent as I’d like to be. It helps to be reminded to continue to be aware of my efforts in instilling these values in my children!

    • Shanna Goodman
      May 31, 2012 | 11:11 pm

      I have to remind myself consistently, too! I think it’s easy to get wrapped up in the day to day tasks and forget that we’re raising adults. Someone told me several years ago, “We’re raising adults, not children.” That stuck with me.

  2. Tracy
    June 3, 2012 | 9:30 pm

    Very good reminder! I re-tweeted this at @mama_press. Many would benefit from reading this. Thanks!

  3. Susan
    June 8, 2012 | 6:01 pm

    Thanks for this! You’ll probably love this quote that I came across recently. It reinforces your post!
    It’s not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours. I can’t tell my children to reach for the sun. All I can do is reach for it myself. ~Joyce Maynard

    • Shanna
      June 20, 2012 | 8:32 am

      Thanks, Susan! That’s a great quote. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Shanna
    June 20, 2012 | 8:27 am

    Thanks, Tracy! I appreciate it!

  5. Jane
    September 13, 2012 | 10:19 am

    Thanks for this! I think all we can ask them for is, at most trying, and it is enough. And we must also remeber they’re the moms and dads of our grandchildren.

  6. Sarah
    September 22, 2012 | 3:02 pm

    Thanks for the kick in the pants!! I really needed to be reminded of that!

  7. Julie Ireland
    February 27, 2013 | 10:24 am

    What a great post and something i relate to,having not been the greatest at following rules during my teens, the minute i became pregnant just changed my mindset over night. If you want your children to whatever they want you have to be willing to show them nothing is impossible and if at first you don’t succeed dust off and try again

  8. John
    April 25, 2013 | 4:00 pm
  9. Garrett Z. Chavez
    May 2, 2013 | 8:30 am

    This level of committment is missing from so many relationships these days. Kim is a true gentleman and a wonderful husband – it takes true courage to pick up the pieces when life falls apart, and real sticking power to put them back together again for someone else. Many people take those vows to love, honour and cherish in sickness and in health, richer and poorer so lightly that they would be doing the more honourable thing by not making them at all. (Katie Perry, Russell Brand, Kardashians, etc – all set a resoundingly bad example.) I’m not suggesting that couples should stay together no matter what – where one partner is violent and abusive the other should get out fast, but a solid courtship period is a basis for a solid marriage – there’s a lot of truth in ‘marry in haste, repent at leisure. Krickett has come through a dreadful time with Kim’s help, and choosing to love Kim again was the decision that kept her side of the bargain. They look happy now, with a lovely family.

  10. Gil French
    May 13, 2013 | 12:39 pm

    Hi Tess, I’m going back to work next week after being at home for nearly a year with my baby daughter. Today is her first full day in care. I think my heart might be breaking…so I’m going to be kind to myself. I’m going to do what I need to do to make this a bit easier. That might be letting go of my need to have a perfectly clean house, or a home cooked meal every night, or an empty washing basket. It might also be giving myself permission to have a good old cry when I need to, or to lean on a friend, or to ring daycare during the day to see how things are going (thereby admitting that I don’t have it all perfectly under control). I’ll let you know how it all goes. Topi PS – I sang to my daughter the other day when we were having one of her orientation sessions at daycare – does a room of toddlers and daycare teachers count as singing in public? .-= Topi´s last post… 5 life lessons Ive learned from my Mum =-.

  11. Williams R. Pena
    June 21, 2013 | 10:53 am

    I don’t care if he was raised in this religion or that religion or no religion—as long as he was raised to value the sacred and to know every moment of life, and every moment of life with you, is deeply sacred.

  12. Maude U. Waller
    June 25, 2013 | 7:41 pm

    “Micah,” I said, “you don’t need any more aphids. You already have 10, that’s enough to give to the ants and finish the game.” He didn’t understand. “Once you have 10 aphids, you don’t need any more. That’s all the aphids you’ll ever need. The rest are completely unnecessary.” He still wasn’t satisfied. At this point in the morning I wasn’t trying to teach any life lessons, and so I relinquished and gave him his aphids. Clearly, his 5-year old mind wasn’t quite ready to learn about marginal utility .

  13. Chang Carson
    June 27, 2013 | 2:12 am

    That’s my lovely daughter in Paris. She’s in France studying this spring. A self professed homebody, she signed up for this month long adventure, left home for the first time and flew across an ocean. She is living her life even though, at times, life scares her.

  14. Terrence C. Black
    June 30, 2013 | 5:14 am

    “The feeling of coke left instantly – I wasn’t wanting it anymore. I rolled up my beach mat, turned around and hiked a mile that I needed to in order to get back to my car. I drove 45 minutes to the beach where I was living. And the whole time I was driving, it was as if the left side of my mind was saying, ‘This is not what is intended for your life, you shouldn’t be drinking. There is more to life,’ and the right side was saying, ‘You’re a failure, you’re a loser, you’re filthy; worse than your parents. Drive this car into the ocean.’ This was like a war inside my mind with these voices and I was literally in a trance.

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    July 5, 2013 | 11:32 pm

    “I would welcome anyone who would want to help me. I would explore anything with open arms. I don’t want to end up back in here. I just want to live a good life.

  16. Nestor Moss
    July 14, 2013 | 11:15 pm

    ‘He gave me a little talk when I got put in remand and he said, “If you actually did do it, just ride your time, get out, and just change your life”.

  17. Gold Price
    August 11, 2013 | 5:22 pm

    There’s also part of me that still feels guilty though. I’m sure there’s a name for it. I feel like we cheated the system. We adopted a special need kid with a messed up brain for God’s sake and she’s totally freaking fine. Maybe even above average. I’m starting to feel less guilty about it but that’s probably the biggest reason I haven’t shared too much. I don’t want to boast. Instead of therapy and early intervention, she puts on her flip flops and runs out the door to music class and is getting ready for, as she says, “Macey big girl, go to school!” We are so humbled by how well it’s going. So rather than continue to blog about the challenges of adopting a special needs baby, I’ll simply be sharing about the normal chaos and challenges of family life. Back on the horse. The strong, galloping, less gimpy than last year’s, horse!

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