Thursday, July 3, 2008

Independence - It Don't Come Easy

Tomorrow is almost here. The day we celebrate our Independence. But do we really think about it? Most of us, as living Americans, were born in America. We've always been free. It's all we've known. We never fought to gain our independence. What can we do to understand what a monumental thing this freedom is? Suppose we can check out books from the library or try to recall our 8th grade American History class. But can all that really explain "freedom"?

I dare to go one step further and claim that all we really know about fighting for freedom is what we remember doing as an awkward teenager as we fought for freedom from our parents. (Those were some fights, right?) If you think long and hard about this, we started this fight way before our teen years. It began when we were toddlers. Possibly before. Our desire to do things on our own, without help or assistance. That's how we learned to walk, think, make mistakes...and no doubt there've been some doozies! So, how'd your parents do allowing you to claim your independence? Did they fight their protective feelings and let you do it yourself? Or did they hover over you and help you when you really didn't want or need their help? No matter what they did, how are you doing with your kids, if you have any? Not to say it's easy, but I've always thought the number one job of a parent was to get your kids ready for life. That means giving them their independence long before it's comfortable for you. Sure, it's hard to watch sometimes as they make the wrong choice and have to learn a hard lesson. But imagine if they don't get that chance until their on their own. Now, I'm not talking crazy stuff. I'm talking little steps. Picking an outfit, a snack, an afternoon activity. Starting here will lead to much larger monumental stuff like deciding to play or work on a project, to go to bed at 9 or 10, to go with the crowd or stand on their own. Easy? No way. Important? I think so. Evidence? My 13 year old. It's worked with him so far.

My plan is to give my kids everything they need to become valuable, happy adults. It is my hope that when they move out of my house, they will be able to make it on their own and not run to me with every small problem. I want to have an adult relationship with my adult children. To enjoy the men and woman they become. To do that I have to grant them some independence now and celebrate it. There's more on ways to celebrate your child's independence here. So today, tomorrow and always, I will relish in my kids independence. Celebrate it with gusto. Realizing every day that it don't come easy.

No comments: