How We Prevent America’s Youth From Becoming Mature Adults
For many of the earlier years of my life I had no reason to be concerned about whether ornot I was sharing my worldly goods with others in a positive, healthful way. As a financially challenged single mother, I didn’t have any excess goods to share. But when my children grew up and started their own lives, discretionary income became a reality in my life.
I started to question how other parents and grandparents negotiated the line between actually helping rather than harming their loved ones. Many of them were still hooked on being the rescuers who kissed all the boo-boos and made everything all right. Some were fueled by a desire to give their children and grandchildren everything they didn’t have growing up. Others didn’t want to give up the ego boost of being indulgent friends rather than parents.
After a lot of soul searching, I believed that the challenges I faced had pushed me to grow up, take responsibility for myself and function on my own as a mature adult. It was a hard struggle, but the gift in it was priceless. I didn’t want to rob my loved ones of this life-enhancing achievement.
I learned that it isn’t wise, healthful or desirable to give monetary support to anyone when it is something they should and could be doing for themselves. It actually robs them of the wisdom to be gained and the vital sense of empowerment that comes from being a mature adult.
Experience taught me that it isn’t healthy for anyone concerned if you give from an unfulfilled emotional need of your own such as guilt or your own inadequacies. I now ask myself two questions before I intervene: Am I doing this for myself? Is this something they should be doing for themselves? The answer isn’t always clear-cut or easy.
Yet, this is so important. Bill Gates and his wife have made sure that when their offspring realize their inheritance it is not going to be such a tremendous amount that it will take away their initiative and rob them of the healthy desire and natural urge to achieve.
One of the obvious byproducts of our affluent society is the over-indulgence by parents and grandparents of the younger generations. This fact is highly evident in the sense of entitlement young people have regarding designer clothing and high-tech toys.
I feel the same push-pull of wanting to make life easier for my offspring and grandchildren. But I am also aware that in thoughtless acts of self indulgence I could rob them of the very life lessons that enabled me to become a mature adult.
While I know the remedy to unhealthy gifting won’t bring me instant gratification or ego rewards, I will take solace in the fact that I am contributing to building healthy mature adults. I believe this is a much more desirable and longer-lasting legacy than the latest iPod, Sony PSP, Game Boy or Blu-Ray Disc.
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