Any parents out there?
A little while back I posted something on Facebook about my having to intervene in a dispute between my 9 year old son and soon to be 7 year old daughter. The dispute was over a plain No. 2 pencil. Nothing fancy about it, no decorations, no carvings. And there were other No. 2 pencils scattered on the floor within easy reach to serve as replacement. Maybe there was some principle involved that I couldn’t understand?
We do the best we can to teach our children, and provide them guidance. Help them learn to reason and eventually develop good decision making skills and hopefully acquire wisdom. But at some point, their turn is going to come. Oh, I’m not talking about them having children of their own someday, which may or may not happen. I’m talking about the time when they will no longer be interested in our guidance and will want to make their own decisions. I refer to it as taking their turn. We all take our turn.
But often as parents we’re unwilling to recognize or acknowledge when it’s our children’s turn. Now, I’m not talking about giving up the reigns prematurely. If you’re living in my house and you’re under 18 – you have not yet earned your turn. But ultimately whether we think they have earned it or not, our children will TAKE their turn. Just like we took ours. I’m also not saying that we don’t let them know that there’s a bus coming down the street at a speed of 60 miles an hour, and will probably smash them to bits if they don’t get out of the way. You always have to deliver that kind of information, whether they like it or not.
But what we as parents have to wrap our minds around is the idea that they will TAKE their turn and we won’t always like how they use their turn. We may not agree with their choice for dating. We may not agree with their choice of study. We may not agree with their choice in politics or philosophy, or eating habits. But we can either accept that they are entitled to their turn or risk being alienated from them. I don’t know about you, but I’m preparing my neural pathways to be ready for when they take their turn.