Posts Tagged ‘kids’

I vividly remember a Saturday afternoon, the summer of nineteen-sixty eight. A summer I was camping with my parents. I had done something wrong, I don’t remember what, but it was enough for my usually lenient mother to send me to the trailer, and bed as punishment. After what seemed like hours, my father came to talk to me. Feeling abused and unjustly treated, I wanted to tell my side of the story to my father. I also decided to include a new phrase I had  heard around the lake in my talk. When he told me how upset my mother was, I sat up and spouted my newly learned phrase.

“Well, she didn’t need to shit a brick over it!”  I did it! I pulled out an adult phrase showing my displeasure over their actions! I felt proud and strong. Then the hammer dropped, the room fell silent, my fathers face turned to stone. I shriveled in my skin, I had done something really bad! I spent the rest of the weekend in the trailer while my friends swam.

Years later, in the fun times known as the ’70’s, I sat in my usual place at the table during a family dinner. Feeling hip and grown up, I said, “pass the potatoes dude,” to my father. Things changed so fast I could hear the tinkle of ice as it shrouded the room. Dad slammed his fork on the table and mom fixed me in her stare. I was excused from the table and learned that I could call people dude at school and play, but NOT at home. I began to see the social rules, the morals and norms that kept families together. The values that helped us navigate the world.

Then came the children of our generation. We had already tested the water,  using lingo unique to our generation. Many of these new parents didn’t want to be “un-cool.” They let their kids be kids, speak anyway they wanted, with few boundaries. They continued to evolve, using new words and giving less respect to their parents and family. This has evolved into;

Suck it
This sucks
What ev
Meh
omg
Hate

We need to teach our kids  how to speak, with respect to themselves and others. We have to stop being “cool” and be parents. I don’t want my kid uttering the word “sucks” all day. I don’t want a “what ev” when I ask t hem to empty the trash. I want them to be able to converse, spell and build healthy adult relationships. It is up to us to give them the tools and discipline. We owe it to them to teach them how to speak, listen, learn, show respect, command respect and act. We can’t sit back and let their teenage, online communication form their adulthood. We need to have as much, if not more, input in their lives as social media.

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I already released two kids into the world. One is gone, and one is near with his spouse and kids. Now I am raising three grand kids. It doesn’t get any easier. The oldest has turned eighteen, he was dragged through high school kicking and screaming, but we pulled him through. He is done with all high school classes and all that is left is the graduation ceremony. He attends the local vocational school, specializing in Aviation and Aeronautics. He is a math and engineering whiz who thinks far beyond my capabilities. He will graduate from there in less than three weeks.

However, he is still young!  Even though he is eighteen and almost done with school, I could pull out the  “it’s a school night” excuse to enforce a curfew, but he was always home at least an hour before his curfew.  As a parent, I LOVED this! He was home and all was right with the world. Time after time I would give him permission to stay out late on a Friday or Saturday night, but he would be home by ten or eleven.

He works flight simulators like some of us breathe. His brain is a human calculator. He doesn’t drive, smoke or drink. He is home after school each day and is here until bed. He has friends over and they work on computers, listen to music and eat. He is a good kid with little world experience. I tried to push him out of the nest, urged him to join clubs, go to friends houses or get a job, but he was happiest at home. I know that I have to shove him into the world. He has to drive , get a job, a place to live, form relationships.

But, the mommy in me was pleased that he was home safe and I didn’t have to worry. Then today came! He left here at 7 pm with a friend and at midnight he still wasn’t home. I was thrilled and nervous at the same time. He is over eighteen and able to stay out as late as he wants, but you can’t turn off the worry or desire to have your chickens in the coop before bed. I had to. He is a hard-working man, with above average intelligence who was taught core values.

He came home, later than usual tonight, and I found out why. In the late 1970’s a “friend” stole a large portion of my vinyl record collection. I know they sold them for drugs but didn’t have valid proof, I let it go, but I have always mourned the loss of those albums. Many were gifts from friends, my mom, aunts and cousins. Turns out, my boy was out scouring second-hand shops and music outlets for these records. He purchased many for mother’s day! He only gave me three as a teaser, but he left my mouth-watering!

This encounter left me a greater gift. I know that his heart, and head are in the right place. He is ready to enter the world, meet women and pursue a career. He is green, but he is well armed. My conversations with him have shown me that he is an intelligent man. He is open-minded and tolerant. He has a strong work ethic. He embraces music and the written word. He has a soft spot for animals and children. He is a computer geek and math whiz who talks about aeronautics as easy as as I take a breath. He is good with people and adjusts to each circumstance. He will make mistakes,and ask for help and I will stand by and let him, it’s my job.

Once again, I have to release the hand of a boy and let the world have the man. I can still see him running over the yard, his golden curls bouncing in the sun.  He will do great things and I have to back away and let him do it.

I can’t believe I am going through this again. I spent the late part of the 90’s letting my teens go into the world and find their path. I chose to trust them, trust their core values and decision-making.  One was a quick learner who found school easy. She was an out-going child with artistic talent that I thought would storm the world. The other was an overly intelligent kids who like quiet activities, reading, writing and music. I felt he may struggle in the world.

It was hard to stand by when they were turning 18. I imposed a curfew as long as they were in school, and I continued to dole out chores as a sign of being part of a family unit. But school ended, they were legal and I went to bed each night with a ball in my stomach. It wasn’t normal to go to bed without my babies safely in their rooms. One thrived in life and now has a family, job and connection with us. One struggled a bit more and set out for a change.

We hit speed bumps, got them out of a few minor scrapes, pushed and supported them, but it wasn’t easy as a mom. The first night your adult kid is in the world, with no rules and no curfew is scary, I don’t care who you are.

Fast forward 26 years and see me raising three grandkids’. Then realize that your oldest, who is a walking calculator, fast learner, hard-working, wise beyond his years kid is graduating early and out in the world. He has been given a curfew and always comes home early. He has never been caught smoking, drinking or doing drugs. He loves aviation, history and computers.

But he is out there! All alone, saying he may be home by one or two am. ARGHHH!

Here we go again. I have to let them run. I have to hope that what they were taught will be enough ammo for them to make good decisions.

Will I sleep well for a bit? NO!  If I make it through this one, I have two more to go. Oh hell, who needs sleep?

I can do this, I can do this, I CAN do this! Right?

Hugs to all the parents out there.