Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"Mama always had a way of explaining things so I could understand them."

Life is wonderful, but I was thinking how tuff it can be for young people.  I often wonder how we as parents can make life easier for our children.  Not ready made easy; more along the lines of preparedness.  That magnificent thing we all need, yet often lack the skill set for, without experience.
Some of you are thinking finance classes, self-defense training, etc., and yes those are all very important, but again not exactly what I had in mind.  We can give our children everything, teach them how to do anything, but what do we ingrain in them?  Do we force them into situations at an early age, which challenge their coping skills?  Is it cruel to send a teenager to a movie theater on their own, just once, so they learn to enjoy their own company and not see being alone as a social defect?  Do we ever honestly say, ‘no honey that wasn’t your best art work/tumble/singing’, just so they know every little thing they do isn’t perfection?
I’m certainly not suggesting we berate our children, or isolate them to the point of cruelty.  I’m just considering the extent of our coddling.  I want my children to be full of confidence, I think we all do, but I also want them to be self-sufficient.  I want them to know they are capable of working harder, being alone, and being different.   There is beauty in self-reliance, in comprehending that every “No” we get isn’t the end all of our hopes and dreams. 
People are excessively different from one another.   Diversity is another exquisite gift our world offers.  It is unrealistic to think everyone will “get it”.  We certainly don’t all agree.  So if my little Picasso finger paints a brown rainbow, I call it art, but their expectation shouldn’t be that everyone sees the value of their imagination.  If a critic came a long and called it less than appealing, my child should possess the grace and confidence to understand it as an opinion and nothing more. 
There shouldn’t be fear involved in putting ourselves out there, yet it is lurking in our minds every day.  When we should be impervious to ridicule, or comment, it often cripples us instead.  Why?  Because we weren’t equipped with “It’s okay.”  It’s okay to be on my own!  It’s okay if you don’t understand or appreciate what I do!  I don’t do it for you!
Moms and Dads are the first tool any child has.  Some kids come into the world without a fighting chance, but those who are lucky enough to have parents who care and take the time to worry about things like this, have all the tools they need to be a successful person.  It’s not bad parenting to walk away, sometimes, when they struggle…to let them figure things out on their own.
Forrest Gump: “What’s my destiny, Mama?”
Mrs. Gump: “You’re gonna have to figure that out for yourself.”

If we don’t prepare our kids for what life is really like, or teach them to think for themselves, we haven’t saved them from anything.  We’ve just made the inevitable unmanageable, more intense and filled their minds with doubt.  I want all our children to walk with dignity, assurance, faith, conviction and independence.
“That’s all I have to say about that.” ~Forrest Gump

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