I was recently talking with someone who does not have children and she was sharing how grateful she was that her parents were not pressuring her into them. “They understand that they may never be grandparents,” she said, “and that is such a huge relief.”

It got me thinking of all the children that were born because parents felt pressure to have offspring. Whether overtly or through subtle messages, they knew that’s what someone else wanted them to do so they complied.

The same is true for people feeling pressure to get married, either to a specific person or just in general. I also think of the people who chose careers or college majors because someone else made them feel like that is what they should do.

It may have all worked out in the end, but the pressure to go in one direction or another could skew the trajectory of a person’s life. Think of all the changes we would see if no one did something just because they felt pressure to do it.

While you may not be able to remove all the pressure you cause or feel, you can take steps to consciously refrain from imposing your wishes on another and being content with their choices.

Cartoonist Cathy Guisewite wrote a book My granddaughter has fleas!  Like Cathy, may you celebrate the path that others follow, no matter where that may lead.

— beth triplett

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