Two Women

One woman had a mother who didn't seem to care what her daughter did or didn't do. The daughter grew up determined to prove that she could be successful anyway. She pushed herself and worked very hard and had a good salary to prove it. But still she was always unsatisfied with her achievements. If only her mother had pushed her to do great things, then she would have become someone truly important, like a doctor or a senator. So when she had her own daughter, she decided it was imperative to push her to achieve great things, things she could have achieved if only she had been pushed to achieve them.

Another woman had a mother who was determined that her daughter be wealthy and highly successful. The daughter grew up resentful of her mother's unyielding pressure.  She quit school and joined a commune and found a form of happiness that her mother never understood.  Regardless, she always felt an underlying sadness caused by the disappointment she detected every time she talked to her mother.  So when she had her own daughter, she decided it was imperative to allow her the freedom to be whoever it was she wanted to be.

Both women wanted to have a better relationship with their own daughters than they had with their mothers.  Neither woman did.


  1. that might even summarize my conversation with my husband yesterday. Are academic success and happiness related? What if they are for me (us)? What if they aren't for one/both of the kids? Do I care? What does it mean if I do? Don't?
    File under: the myriad ways we can botch the parenting job

    1. Parenting is like batting averages. If we are getting it right even 33% of the time, success!

      I was just reading Bill Strickland's idea about the difference between ambition and passion. He describes it this way: Following your ambition means that your goal is narrow and confined with lots of potential for failure. Following your passion means that you are open to unexpected possibilities, free to try what isn't practical, accepting that failure is part of the process of growth.

      Always interested in your insights! Thanks for the comment.