Sometimes I feel guilty that my kids make their own lunches. They have to find their own dance shoes and if they lost their theatre book, they find it. I'm too busy to keep tabs on all their "stuff," especially when they didn't put it away in the first place.
Sometimes I feel badly that I don't make fancy snacks resembling zoo animals.
And then I give myself a little shake.
I'm teaching my kids responsibility. I'm preparing them for adulthood.
I'm not raising kids. I'm raising future adults.
There is no way that I'm going to launch my kids into the world without them knowing how to do their own laundry and cook their own meals. They better know how to reply to emails and call when they are running late. They sure as heck better be trustworthy and do what they say they will do.
I'm not going to graduate a child. I'm going to graduate a budding adult.
I got married at the age of 20 and I was ready to take on the world. I credit my parents for raising a strong, resilient, responsible young woman. They didn't baby me or coddle me or run to rescue me when I forgot my lunch or my paper on the kitchen table.
Sure, they were there when I needed them. I knew they loved me. But I went to high school 30 minutes away from my house and there was no way I expected them to drive an hour to give me a forgotten item. I had to deal with it. Take the consequences. Learn from my mistakes.
Sometimes I feel guilty when I shrug my shoulders when my kids say "I can't find. . ." and then I remember that I'm teaching them LIFE SKILLS. Find your own stuff. Better yet, put it away where you can find it next time. Learn from your pain and frustration and change your actions for next time.
No food to eat in the house? Yeah right. Dig deeper in the freezer or pantry. Get creative. Make something. Figure it out. You're not three years old--you're a middle schooler or a high schooler. Soon you'll be applying for jobs and who will rescue you then?? Your boss? I don't think so. You'll get fired and let go and your head will be spinning because not only did no one rescue you, but you got the boot because you didn't do what you promised you would do.
I'm going to do everything in my power to let my kids fall and fail and feel it. . . while they are still under my roof and I can hold them while they cry. I can comfort them, but not rescue them. I will love them fiercely and that includes loving them enough to NOT rescue them at every failure, but rather TEACH them how to change and grow from their mistakes.
It's impossible to be perfect. Trust me. I've tried.
We all fail, fall, and mess up. But we don't need to be rescued, we need to learn from our mistakes.
I'm hiring young adults all the time and I'm so thankful for the parents who instilled values and character into their kids. These are the employees that show up, go above and beyond, and who work for my organization for years and years.
If you're raising kids, raise them for their future employers and future spouses. Don't be a "good" parent, be a wise parent. Teach values and morals and timeliness and honesty. Teach it like your life depends on it. Because your child's future DOES depend on how you raise them now.
About the Author
Hi, I'm Jen Hickle!