Family 2015

Family 2015

Monday, March 26, 2012

Being a Grown-Up

My kids, like most other I'm sure, are very curious at what point they will finally be a "grown-up."  I usually give some vague answer like, "Well, according to the law, you will be a grown-up when you turn 18, but....that isn't always the case."  This is a confusing and frustrating answer to them.  But, I'm not really sure how to change it to make it more concrete.

It is true, that years ago in America, one could be reasonably sure that by the time a young person reached 18 they would be ready to strike out on their own and one could also be reasonably sure that they would make it.  This does not seem to be the case any longer.  Am I right?

I heard the other day that 25 is the new 18.  While my knee jerk reaction was to say, "Whatever.  These kids just need to grow up!"  I realized in the next beat that that was simply not a fair assessment.  I do think it's true that kids are maybe not given as much responsibility or expected to grow up as fast as they used to be; however; in their defense, growing up in 21st century America is a bit complicated.

First, I would like to compare it to what it would be like to grow up in a less progressive society.  Now, don't get me wrong, I'm awfully glad that I have electricity, running water, and a car.  But, what if I neither had those things or knew they existed?  What if the age of maturity occurred when a child had arrived at puberty and could hunt a buffalo or prepare a meal?  I am just pointing out that raising a child in those cultures is a bit of a simpler affair.

Getting a child to adulthood in America, or any of our counterpart countries, just feels daunting sometimes.  There are so many obstacles they have to maneuver around, so many things are expected of them, and they have to know how to do SO MUCH before they can make it on their own.

Then, there is this concept of "educational inflation."  50 years ago, really even 25 years ago, a high school diploma meant something.  Now, it really is just what you need to get into college.  I know there is the odd person who makes it in today's world without post-secondary learning, but they are few and far between. (Take it from my husband, who is pursing his Master's degree at the age of 46).  I remember, as a kid, looking so forward to the summer after high school because it meant FREEDOM!!!!  In fact, I spent the summer at home and then the fall after I graduated I jumped on a tour bus with 29 people I didn't know and proceeded to tour the world for 3 years with a dance production.  It was the best of times.

I am afraid that for my kids, the summer after high school just looks like the break between high school and "who knows how much more school."  I can understand why they sometimes seem despondent about the whole thing.

But, I give them pep talks and I encourage them and I let them know that we will be their biggest cheerleaders throughout the whole process.  I tell them over and over that they are smart, that they can do it, that God will help them too, that He has a plan and that He knew all along that they would grow up in this time and this place.

I don't think it's possible to overstate the above - growing up in America in this day and age is not for the faint of heart.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Gatekeeper

I'm going to springboard off of a conversation that I was just having with a couple of other women.  All of us are Moms and so, we were talking about - surprise - being a Mom.

Our conversation went in many directions, but I was kind of having my own internal conversation as we jumped around.  I have been thinking a lot lately about what the role of a Mom in the home really is....and you know what?  It's a big deal.

Moms are, in the truest sense, Gatekeepers.  We, more than anyone else, are in control of what we allow into our homes and into our kids.  Don't worry.  I'm not here to down on Harry Potter or descry the evils of know me better than that.

But, I am here to say, Do you know how powerful you are, Mom?  Did you know that the role you play in the lives of your children and your home is the most important one you play?  Did you know that although society has tried to tell you that just about anyone could do your job, they are dead wrong?

The other day, I was driving Pierce to school and from the backseat he said, "Hey Mom, so did God build all the stuff that's on the world?"  I said, "Kind of.  He made man and the animals and all the plants and then he gave men the wisdom to invent things like buildings, cities, streets, cars, stuff like that."  "Oh, I get it, " he said.  He went back to his snack, but my mind kept on moving.

I was stunned at the simplicity of the exchange.  I don't know why, it's not like I haven't had a million or so similar conversations since I became a parent; but this one just hit me.  He just takes me at my word.  In his mind, whatever I tell him is true.  For a few years, whatever I write on the slate of his heart and mind just goes there without question or filter.

That is an amazing privilege and responsibility.

I will fill up that slate in the most measured and pre-meditated way that I can.  He will know about faith and about love and about responsibility and about kindness and respect.  He will hear and see me affirm him in his uniqueness AND experience me letting him know that unique does not mean "without boundaries."

When our kids are grown, their hearts will always carry the indelible first print that we leave, let use our wisdom and prayers to make sure it is print that will serve them well.