Parenting: You’re Doing It Right? Pretty Much? Sorta?

Fake Fighting

Fake Fighting

When I grew up, things were vastly different than they are now. There was no parent to crusade for or against my teachers to ensure I was getting my value out of the education system… I simply made it work for me. There was no nagging to do homework or endless nudges to do my reading, I just did it. (I enjoyed doing it. I took pride in my work.) In fact, at about the same age as my children are now, I started watching myself before and after school, sometimes for hours. Walking to and from the school a mile+ away in whatever the weather doled out that day — Carrying my packs, projects, and supplies from point A to B the best I could.

Hop On Pop

Hop On Pop

Sure, I was one of a select few that went home to no one, but it suited me. It made it so that there was no question that I would be fine as I decided to take college credit courses while still in high school. It ensured that when I left home for my own apartment in college it really was the next natural step. It helped me be strong-willed, independent, and capable. By the time I graduated from high school, I understood most of the ins and outs… There wasn’t anything I couldn’t do if I really tried — Just so long as I didn’t give up.

Will I be able to say the same thing for my children at that age? I fear the answer will be a resounding “no.” Too much judgement and too little real community support has left my children weaker an less self-assured than their potential might allow. Sure, sure, the community is quick to tell you what you’re doing wrong when it comes to child rearing…

Animal Kingdom?

Animal Kingdom?

In fact, it’s so helpful, it will call family services and point it’s finger in your direction for the slightest infraction. But where is the village it supposedly takes to raise a child and not condemn it to the purgatory of bad ideas and little drive?

An older acquaintance was aghast that I would be leaving my children home alone after school for a maximum of 5 minutes as I was sometimes stuck in traffic. “How sad” she said when I, laughingly, told her they would be fine… That I was watching myself before and after school by this age.

How sad?! My response was simply that I found it more sad that most people my age didn’t have the opportunity to really try free fall, even in a limited capacity, before being pushed out of the nest as a so-called adult… And even sadder that most people my children’s age won’t even attempt leaving home for real until they are nearly 30 or older (some never really never leave the support system of their parents) and will have probably never really spent any time alone nor had the opportunity to really get to know nor even entertain or sooth themselves!

Pink & Blue

Pink & Blue?

I see people, even people close to me, who’s parents coddled and helicoptered them into a semi-naive, fairly sheltered state drowning in what often amount to unrealistic goals, little know-how to make them happen, and no tools to call upon when attempting to pursue them. Even as middle age looms behind them, they can’t quite find their way to self-sufficiency… THAT is sad.

So when I read articles like this, I shake my knowing head. I know that I’m as guilty as anyone of bowing to the expected, to the judgmental public, to the gentry, the government, and the rabble… To any opinion that seems valid at the time… but in the end are we doing what is right or just doing what is right now?

I mean, as the article says, I turned out pretty okay, right?

The Mixed Bag

Mixed Bag – The Family Out for Groceries

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