Teaching your grandkids the difference between fame and success

Young children today grow up with fame dangling in front of them as the most aspirational way to live their lives, but is that the right thing to teach them? Or should we be teaching them about the importance of success over fame?

This generation, in an era of social media and voluminous identity, seem to idolise TV and YouTube stars, footballers and fashion models. They want to be famous, and fast. What they are famous for seems to be less important for many.

Shows like Big Brother, Dancing with the Stars and the swathes of other types of reality TV make fame seem really important and valuable to children, and very desirable. We did it in yesteryear too, with the Johnny Young Talent Show and a steady diet of supermodels in magazines raising a generation of children in Generation X who wanted to be just like the stars and models known for little more than their physical attributes. Fame has been steadily growing as the largest goal for many since my own youth, and I am nearly 40.

But what should we here, as grandparents hope to teach our grandchildren? Is fame or success more important in your opinion?

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It’s funny to think that you can be famous without people recognising your skill sets, your knowledge or your achievements. You can be famous for turning up, being popular or being a star. Is that a worthy and valuable? Is it right for anyone to judge?

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Success on the other hand is defined in itself as an accomplishment of an aim or purpose. Success is something that you set as a goal and work towards to achieve. For some people achieving fame is their goal. So I guess, in that they will find success. For me success is a little different.

My grandparents taught me to value success high above fame in life. That is, they fought hard to ensure I got a good education, and respected it. And they explained that it was important to use my education in life to achieve things. They taught me that looks and physical talent were likely fleeting and to be enjoyed with caution knowing one should always have a back-up plan driven by a desire to achieve success.

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Sounds like tough lessons for a kid growing up, and as a parent today I find myself torn between wanting to teach my kids that they can be anything their heart desires, from famous popstar or dancer to business owner or mother and wanting to ensure they value success or achievement of goals in life before fame or achievement of someone remembering your name.

The last thing I wish for my child or grandchild one day is to become inadvertently famous for not very much. That is, they become a target of the media and elevated quickly to fame for their sins or opportunism.

Do you agree? Have you ever stopped to consider how you instil these values?