Friday, June 15, 2012

Strengthening Their Wings

I have always believed that I needed to teach my kids all of the lessons in life as early as possible. I am quite passionate about that subject. I always thought that if I would die tomorrow, I would want them as prepared as possible for this crazy, unpredictable world!

I never really wanted my kids to have to learn about life the hard way as I did, the school of hard knocks, as it is no picnic. However, did it make me stronger?

Looking back from who I was early on, to whom I am today, and all of my life’s experiences, I know it has. However, the question remains, do you really have to go through so much fire to be a strong person?

They say what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger, I really believe that, but sometimes, it is hard to remember that when you are going through the fire.

 I was never the kind of mom to read those raising your kids by “doctor so and so”, books. I knew enough women who drove themselves crazy trying to fit their kids into what those books said that their babies wanted, needed, should be, or not be doing at any given time of the day or night.

I never understood how doctors could possibly know all of that recognizing that each child is different.

 Being the nature lover that I am, and knowing that most answers to life’s questions can be found in nature, I usually looked to that, and my own instincts (another nature trait that humans too often ignore), as well as advice and suggestions from other people (whom I deemed as good role models), to help raise my kids.

 When my child’s Doctor said to feed my baby cereal only after a certain age, and exhausted I was getting up every 2 hours to a bottomless pit of a baby, the doctor’s suggestion went out the window, and baby rice cereal went into the bottle.

  Aaaahhhh, wonderful, blissful sleep for me and my baby!

For any of you who are convinced that I was doing some permanent damage to my babies’ health for mixing the cereal in the formula earlier than directed by the doctor, I can assure you that those babies are now 30 and 26 year old healthy adults.

Now, I am definitely not saying that I did not make any mistakes. Lordy, I made a lot of them! We all make mistakes. I think one of the biggest mistakes that not only my husband and myself did with raising our two kids is the same mistake that many parents of our generation made.

Being part of the baby boomer generation, my husband and I were raised in a completely different environment than we raised our kids in for the last 20 + years.

 We were left to figure it all out. We had more freedom back then and therefore, we matured much faster than our children did. Money was tighter back then, so for at least my family, we didn’t have many materials things, and once we were of legal working age,  and had a job, (there was no choice there either, you had to get a job as soon as you were legally allowed ) we had to pay our own way for everything. Cars and clothes were not bought for us, parents did not cater to our every want, and parents were not doting over us, nor were they even very involved in our lives.

When my husband and I decided to have kids, we also decided that we would be different kinds of parents than what we had. We wanted to be involved, help our kids out wherever we could, financially and every other way.

We felt that this was the right approach to raise strong, healthy, happy, ready to take on the world kids, and while I still believe that being more involved was the right thing to do in making them feel loved and part of a family unit, it didn’t happen overnight, and there were struggles and battles along the way.

Kids live at home longer than they did when I was a kid. As soon as you turned 18, you wanted to be an adult, so you either went to college, or moved out.
Sometimes, you got married.

 Kids now days are not embracing adulthood like we did.

 I have even heard many say that they do not want to ever grow up.

 Hmmm, Peter Pan syndrome?

What the hell is that all about? Not want to grow up? That does not make any sense to me at all!

Growing up meant freedom to make your own rules, eating what you wanted, staying up as late as you liked, and having friends over at any time.

I guess the difference in the current generation vs. mine is that you did not get to keep living free, and live by your own rules once you turned 18. I had to pay rent, and when I decided that I did not want to do that anymore (exercising my “adult” right, or so I thought), I was kicked out. Yep, just like that, my mom said that if I did not pay, then I did not stay.

 I was stubborn, and was sure that I was going to teach my mom a lesson for kicking me out, so I took her up on that challenge and within a week of being kicked out, I found a very small apartment. It wasn’t much, but it was mine!

Turns out, that was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. I grew up really fast, learned how to do everything on my own, and developed a very close relationship with my mom along the way. I learned to appreciate all of the things that she had done for me over the years now that I had to do them myself!

Perhaps she knew all along that I needed to be booted out of the nest to strengthen my wings.


That was a turning point in my life. That is when I realized that you had to be tough and strong in order to make your kids the same. Now days they call that “tough love”.

My mom was so smart and way ahead of her time! She knew that for our survival, and no matter how much that she wanted to, she could not continue to coddle her kids forever, and sometimes, if we were not trying to fly on our own when she felt we needed to be, she had to make our nest uncomfortable so that we would want to leave, or in my case, just boot me out. It seems harsh, but I will refer you back to nature again to show you that this is the right thing to do.

In the animal world, most all animals work on preparing their young for their predators as quickly as they are able to after being born or hatched. They have to do this if they want their young to learn, survive and thrive, so that they can continue their species.

Since this article is titled “strengthening their wings”, I will focus just on the birds.

 A bird is hatched. The mother and/or father go out and get food, bring it back to feed the young. They keep the young safe, warm and loved. Yes, animals do love. They do this for a certain period, just as we humans do, but when the bird knows that it is time for the baby to learn how to fly, hunt and be on their own, the parents start nudging at the babies.

The babies learn, sometimes fall to ground, but most of the time, will get up, and fly again and again, until their wings are strong enough, (and they have learned enough about hunting, and nesting from their parents), to fly away and live completely on their own.  Those that do not learn and strengthen their wings enough to make it on their own will perish.

 That is the law of nature. The strong survive.

Knowing this was enough reason for me to want my babies to have really strong wings!

I can honestly say that at the time of this writing, my two kids have matured, grown, and are taking on the world by their own financial means, but I would also have to be honest and say that it took longer for them to get to this point than I would have thought.

 Some of the reason is due to a very tough economy, and some is due to what society deems necessary items to have for happiness. Luckily, both of my kids are not caught up into all of that, and they are very giving. They would both give the shirts off their back even if it meant that they wouldn’t have anything else to wear. I am very proud of who they have both become. They have learned and are learning every day, that being an adult is not easy, and is not always fun, but it comes with rewards that only an adult with strong wings can enjoy!

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