I know most of you are going to hate me for saying this. In fact some may hate me so much that you will never read Jump.lk again. But certain things are better said than unsaid. So here it is. “Don’t listen to your parents!” There, I said it.
How many of you follow the dreams of your parents? You hate so much to be an accountant but since your dad couldn’t become one, you had to follow his dreams. You know you don’t wanna marry just yet but like always, since your parents “know better” you marry someone that you met 3 days ago! You feel like it’s time to leave your job and start a company that might succeed or fail, but when you talk about this with your parents, you guessed right!
“Are you crazy? After all that education and effort, you want to leave your job? Don’t even think about it?”
Some of your parents maybe not like the ones in the above paragraph. Some of them may support every dream of you and lets you do anything. Well, I guess I’ve got such parents. They doubt me every single time but they let me do whatever I wanna do. If you got such parents, consider you’re lucky as shit.
What’s wrong with our parents?
Sri Lankan traditions and culture has conditioned us to obey our parents no matter what. Our values have made us to accept our parent’s judgments as the final. This has been there for centuries and we are supposed to believe that our parents are always “right.” If they think that we should marry a chimpanzee, we should marry a chimpanzee! Period. (It’s an exaggeration but I hope you get my point.)
Now let’s dig in to the part where I lay down my argument. Why shouldn’t you listen to your parents?
They don’t know everything
Only God will know everything (if there is one!) Other than that, we are all human beings and we don’t have right answers for every problem. It’s the same with your parents. They are not perfect. If your dad has never invested a rupee in the stock market, don’t ask him what stock to buy. If your parents are having a bad marriage, they can’t advise you on how to have a good marriage.
If you want to quit your job and develop a dating app, don’t ask your parents what to do? They have no clue what a dating app is. They used to send actual letters back in their time. Only you know “what you know.” Only you understand how the dating app market works. So asking your parents advice is hopeless. It’s like asking relationship advice from a person who hasn’t even touched a girl’s hand. Hopeless!
Times are different
See, the thing is your parents were born in a different time than us. That’s why they are called Baby Boomers and Generation X (born between 1946 to1970). The values they grew up with and the mindset they have is completely different than what we are experiencing right now.
They were born and bred in a time where everything was industrialized. They saw life as a “production line”. According to them life is all about going to school, getting your education and joining a company and working till you die. Ah, and also marry someone on the way and have few kids because everyone else seems to do it! This is the story of any middle class family. And they were satisfied with their mundane lives and some were “forced” to be happy.
This approach to life does not work with us millennials (born between 1985 and 2000). We were born in an era where industrialists are losing their power over us. This is the era where individualism has given rise to power. We have so many options to choose from. We can start a company, travel the world, volunteer in Africa or start our own blog like this.
That is why most of us are frustrated about 9-5 jobs. We just don’t see the point of working our ass off for someone else and to be grateful about the opportunity given. The options we have are limitless and being stuck in a job from 9-5 is the least appealing one out of all!
We are not our parents
Sometimes, our parents think that we should follow the same path they did. But what they don’t realize is that we are different individuals with different needs. Parents do not seem to understand this. Yes, yes we were born because of you but it doesn’t mean that we have to live our lives according to you.
What do you do now?
So what do you do now? This is the part where it gets tricky. Sometimes the advises you get from your parents are actually good. Our parents have years of experience and they have been through life more than us.
But when it comes to major life decisions like starting your own business or selecting your life partner, I suggest you to ignore your parents as much as possible. Sometimes it’s important to follow your gut. Sometimes your decisions have to be depended on your heart and not the rational mind. If you fail, accept and move on. Life is too short to live someone else’s dreams. If they understand, they will respect your decisions. But if they don’t, you’ll have to be strong and stand up on your feet.
If you’re a parent reading this, here’s what you should do. Let your child fail as much as possible. Failure is a necessary part of life. We were meant to fail and learn from our mistakes. We were not meant to have a life without failures. Let your children make their own decisions and support them to create a life they want. Not the life you never had.
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