I don’t think that title will win me any “Mother of the Year” awards.
But it is true. I really do want bad things to happen to my children. Not catastrophic things. Not irreparable things. But, yes, bad things.
I want my children to learn something that is a buzz word in military communities nowadays: Resilience.
Sadly, resilience has become something that we actually have to teach and provide special trainings, classes, and symposiums in order for grown adults to be able to handle the stresses that life throws at them.
Instead of holding my kids’ hands through every step of childhood and then throwing them to the wind when they turn 18 (oh, except for the medical insurance that apparently I will have to provide until they are 26…thanks for that, Obamacare), I want my children to have experience handling challenges. I want them to feel the satisfaction that comes with working through a difficult situation, whether it is bringing up a low math grade or finally being able to do a pull-up.
And I want them to feel the pain that occurs when they mess up. I pray they never mess up terribly, such as driving drunk and killing someone. But if they get pulled over by a policeman for speeding and have to mow yards or sell precious possessions to pay off that ticket, then so be it. Plus, they will have learned how it feels to see those blue flashing lights in the rear view mirror. Maybe then they will think twice before drinking and driving.
I also want them to know how to handle difficult situations. My daughters were rear ended on the way to school yesterday. Thankfully everyone was okay and there was not too much damage to their car. But with that experience they learned how to handle an accident scene. I am teaching them how to work through the process of making an insurance claim. And they also had to work through the jitters of getting behind the wheel of a car again.
One of my daughters is away at a college visit right now. I don’t know if she packed everything she needed. But I guess she will figure out how to handle it if she didn’t, and she will plan better net time. And if she did pack well, then it will add to her confidence.
The same goes for my other daughter who is going on a mission trip this Spring. She will not be able to have a cell phone…and I am good with that. The leaders will be in touch letting us know that they arrived safely and let us know if there are emergencies. But my daughter will have to work through situations down there without calling me for help. This is a good thing!
We American parents have become so lenient and yet so over-protective of our kids that we are messing them up. We allow them infinite freedom in the electronic world, but God forbid they should scrape their knees while climbing a tree or eat something without using antibacterial spray first!
I’ll admit that I am as guilty of these things as any other parent. But I don’t want to be. I want my kids to grow up and learn how to handle life. That is what resilience is all about: handling life’s issues in a productive manner.
And that is why I am okay (mostly) when bad things happen to my kids.