This I Believe

Donna - Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
Entered on January 17, 2008
Age Group: 50 - 65

This I believe… let your children live their own lives. I don’t know how well I would make out raising kids in the 21st Century. Society seems to want to protect pur youngsters from everything. We must preserve them from failure and disappointment from bumps and bruises, embarassments and conflicts. I ask you where’s the fun in that.

At around two years of age our daughter began to climb the apple tree in our backyard. She would turn a log on end and stand on it to reach a lower branch. As with any child she looked to me for my reaction. Regardless of the butterflies in my stomach I smiled and nodded. If I had let my fear stop her I would have robbed her of the accomplishment of seating herself astride that tree limb and the resultant glee. I had to get her down from the tree but nobody remembers that part of the story. My misgivings were my own to deal with not a burden for her to bear.

Shortly after mastering climbing this same daughter began to dress herself. It was an accomplishment never mind the mix of patterns and seasons she combined to cover herself. You can’t worry about what others think of you if you are looking to raise kids who think for themselves.

By the time our daughter was five years old we had added a son to the mix. In the subsequent 22 years these two have provided us with many chances to stand by and watch them create their lives.

In their teen years we formulated dating policies, driving requirements and curfews. I wasn’t one to wait up wringing my hands and worrying ( truth is I couldn’t stay awake !). My son rewarded me for my hands off approach with best compliment of my mothering career.”Thank-you for your faith in me.” Isn’t this what we all strive for , to have our children understand that we believe in their abilities, their prudent judgment and their basic goodness.

My sister has a name for our parenting style ” benign neglect”. We taught actions have consequences but never defined for our kids every move they should make.

As a young woman our daughter decided to move out of the area with her boyfriend. She didn’t seek our advice and we kept ou moths shut. She was home in four months. She never had to deal with our misgivings nor did she feel judged for “disappointing” us. It had been her decision. She learned that we support her always if not all her choices.

“Mind you own business” not just a cliche, a great truth. Children deserve to create their own lives through their unique choices. This I believe