After thirteen years of working on my emotional health I thought I had reached a pretty impressive level… and as you can probably guess, that’s exactly when I realized I’m not as healthy as I thought. In one simple test I learned I still have a strong superficial side. Yea for a growth opportunity!… Yeah, I’m not sure if that’s sarcasm or not either. So here’s what happened: I was holding my baby daughter and thought if I could ask a genie for three magic wishes for her what would they be? (Yes, I was a big fan of Aladdin as a child) I didn’t actually choose my set three, but I thought of a variety of things:
- She’s a joyful person who can always see the good
- She finds activities that she really enjoys and can find pride in
- She develops a meaningful relationship with God
- She finds a career path that brings her satisfaction both financially and emotionally
- She finds love in both friends and a husband that bring her great experiences
- She is given wonderful opportunities to experience life in a full way
- She learns what it means to be respectful and appreciative of others
- Her parents live long and happy lives (no, this isn’t about being selfish, but it’ll be a huge benefit to her and spare her a lot of pain if we live long and happy lives)
See how boring that list is? It’s so practical. What would my list look like for a genie for me?
- A chunk of money that continually grows without risk of depreciating giving us money to pay off our house, our family’s houses and to be able to afford biannual trips with family and/or friends
- My writing and performing to become world renown for helping people be happier
- To be able to fly like Superman
And this is why I realized I’m not as emotionally developed as I thought. How is there such a divide? How can I be so superficial for myself and basic for my baby? The funny thing is the first list is all things that are kind of in her control. My list? Not so much. Flying isn’t going to happen no matter how many jumping jacks I do or how positive I am. Why aren’t I more worried about being a joyful person who can always see the good? Am I so arrogant that I think I have all of these things in my life already? I have been blessed with things like a great wife and friends who have helped bring about great experiences, so I wouldn’t need that. But for my daughter, I almost don’t want her to have a lot of money because money often ruins people’s lives. A lot of rich people complain they can’t trust others to want to be their friend for who they are and not what they own or can give. Money is dangerous, which is why so many people win the lottery only to go bankrupt and/or become miserable. Maybe I’m not as superficial for my daughter because I want to be the one to provide her things, which further adds to some superficiality on my part.
My one friend did this test and found the two lists he made for his kids and for himself were identical. Does that mean he’s a better person or he’s in the midst of growing himself and simply want his kids to have what he didn’t?
Regardless, this test of what 3 wishes you would ask for your child versus what three wishes you’d ask for yourself is very telling of where your mind is at and mine clearly needs a little work.
This week may you discover something interesting about yourself like I did.
Rev. Chad David, ChadDavid.ca, learning to love dumb people