When we think about starting our own family, most of us dream about happy times, adorable children, and magical moments.What many of us don’t think about at that point is the heavy load of responsibility that comes with being a parent – and that responsibility never ends no matter how old our “baby” becomes.

While a pregnancy absolutely can bring its share of worries and “what-ifs”, many people find that when that baby comes home from the hospital, the true worrying begins. A very common concern among parents is what kind of person that child will be as an adult. Will they be successful? Will they get into college? Will they find a job? Will they get married? Will they move far away? Will they have friends?

Laying some basic groundwork for a child’s future IS important, but the key is to balance the future with the present, with a heavy emphasis on the present. If all our energy goes into what our child will be like as an adult, we’ll miss the joy of knowing them as a child. A popular buzzword these days is “mindfulness” – taking time to genuinely and fully experience what is happening at the moment. As parents we can get very caught up in all of the daily distractions of life – meals to fix, bills to pay, car repairs to schedule…..When we are practicing mindfulness we might be playing a game with our child, baking cookies together, watching a movie with them, going for a walk, or we might be stepping back and listening in when our children are playing with friends to hear how they are interpreting the world.

Worried about your child’s future? Spend time with them. Teach them manners, ethics, and kindness above all else. Success looks like many different things. Raising a thoughtful, loyal, empathetic child will go a long way in ensuring they are happy, healthy, “successful” adults.