Living vicariously through our kids

I think most of us, at one time or another, think about living vicariously through our kids. I’ve been tempted to buy band t-shirts of my ‘old favorites’ for my kids. I also love bathing our almost one year old Uberbaby daughter and giving her a mohawk! I can’t help myself. Others might live vicariously through their children when it comes to birthday parties, bar/bas mitzvahs, wedding, popularity in school, excellence in acedemics or sports, etc.

I think that most of us parents out there want what’s best for our kids. For some that means letting our kids live a lifestyle that reflects the way that we grew up. For others this might mean giving kids what we didn’t have when we, ourselves, were growing up. This, of course, can manifest itself in either materialism, experiences, or aspects of Torah observant life.
As the school year starts I often see parents living vicariously through their own kids. My own son just got his first “rebbi” as a teacher. I’m thrilled, I freely admit it. I didn’t grow up with an opportunity like that. The urge to hear every single detail about my son’s day at school is tempting. I hold back though. I’m just happy that my son is happy at his school. I realize that my dreams are not my son’s dreams. His strengths are very different than may own (especially in sports). I know that I have a much better relationship with my own kids when I accept them for who they are, not who I want them to be (this is different than having expectations for one’s kids).

I think that the middos we demonstrate (by what we do and how we do it) also end up ‘living’ vicariously through our children. In a way, our kids absorb both the good and the not good within us. They watch, listen, and learn. I have seen time and again in my own kids how they pick up both the postive and negative characteristic that I display. Our kids should be the ones who want to live vicariously through us!
Rav Dessler in Michtav M’Eliyahu also deals with this idea in terms of the Avos (Avraham-Chessed, Yitzchak- Gevurah/Yirah, and Yaakov-Emes). Rav Dessler goes on to explain how each of the Avos actually utilized aspects of all three of these (Chessed, Gevurah, and Emes) built on the Avodah of the previous generation.
When I first worked on the rough draft for this post last week. I had, at the time, reached just over the “25,000” mark on my site meter (despite very irregular postings over the past several months). The quick glance, light read, or even thoughful comment left on Modern Uberdox is greatly appreciated. As I’ve posted before, the fact that anyone even reads this blog is humbling. Like parenting, teaching, and most things in life the bottom line is: We have no clue what effect we can have on others. Thanks for reading.

4 thoughts on “Living vicariously through our kids

  1. PsychoToddler

    Very insightful. I definitely tried to steer my kids into my own interests. With varying degrees of success.

    But overall I’m glad that I can enjoy a lot of common interests with my kids now.

    It’s a good substitute for friends!

  2. Neil Harris

    PT: True, but your kids are older (except for the psychotoddler).
    I enjoy “jewish music” with my second grader, but he has no interest in any non-jewish music that he happens to hear (with the exception of “We are the champions”, “We will rock you” and the Ramones version of the old “Spiderman” theme song).

    My son, as I’ve mentioned before on the blog, loves sports. He often schools whenever we watch anything together.


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