April 29, 2012

Let Them Screw Up

That’s okay, son — take a trip to that strip joint and smoke a bit, drink a bit, fool around some. Make sure you bring a condom. And daughter? You want to sleep over at your friend’s house while a bunch of fine teenage boys from the ‘other side of town’ hang out? That’s fine, too. We won’t stop you. We won’t trap you.

We’ll keep telling you what to do, but we don’t expect that you’ll listen. Why should you? You’re only just becoming adults.

The fact is as parents, it’s scary letting our kids go. Giving them freedom? That’s terrifying. We’d rather throw them in padded rooms, fit them in their strait jackets, and never have to worry.

Watch these kids really tear their lives apart bit by bit by exploring on their own. They drop like flies, and immediately we’re there to pick them back up — like when they were little kids on their bikes for the first time. They fell, and you right there to set them right. Once they were right, though, you had to let them go — let them try again. Truthfully, they could do it on their own. They did do it on their own.

Do you see what this is all about? Do you understand. Make no mistake: you certainly want to constantly be there and let them know right from wrong, lecture them, advise them, drill it in their heads. Sure, they’re going to be aggravated with you. Sure, they’re going to roll their eyes. They might even say they ‘hate you.’ That’s okay.

Ultimately, their decisions are their decisions. And they appreciate it (eventually). They especially appreciate it even more when they realize — after finally being on their own, with their own families, their own lives –

That you were right all along.