Even though he made lots of money in the end, according to the biography I am reading now, Steve Jobs says he had a “…sense of what was important – creating great things instead of making money…”.
I love this idea, and it fits perfectly with my focus as a parent. My eyes have been on helping my kids be creative, and on helping them become themselves, and not on the typical competitive ideas of trying to be better than others.
When my kids were little we reinforced ideas that defined who each child was rather than what might make him presumably better than someone else. Even as a child Emmett was bookish, intellectual and deliberate, Andrew, physically coordinated, daring and funny, and our girl athletic, curious and with a great sense of humor. Our kids came with this stuff and we just help nurture it. As they get older we encourage them to further develop these gifts, and not so they can make more money by being better, but so they can be more themselves and feel free to create whatever they can with the gifts they have been given.
I love it that Steve Jobs, known for being a difficult man but a great innovator, points out the value of creativity over competition. It rings a bell with me because fostering creativity might be the goal of any parent, not creating a child who will be financially above the crowd. Best grades, best in class, best school, best job….that stuff can happen incidentally if you focus on helping your kids be who they are, not on beating out others.