When I read fascinating things, I often can't keep quiet about them…and How to Raise an Adult has been enlightening.
I've found that certain things in this particular book have lightened a load on my shoulders about parenting. Society today has put SO much stress on protecting and entertaining and helicoptering our kids and I'm exhausted and far more stressed than I think I'm supposed to be!! Is that why we're here as parents? To prevent all things from “happening” to our kids or are we here to help them experience things and know how to troubleshoot resolutions? To do things for them to make their lives easier or to help them see that life is tough and to raise competent, capable adults? To intervene every time a confrontation arises or to allow our children to figure out ways to respond the most godly way they can?
This book talks about the 8 things an 18-year-old should be able to do by the time they leave my home. Here's to goal setting over the next 8 years….
1. Must be able to talk to strangers. The crutch: We teach them not to talk to strangers instead of teach the nuanced skill of how to discern the bad strangers from the mostly good ones. I want my boys to know how to approach strangers for help, guidance and direction they will need in the world…and I want them to do it respectfully and with eye contact.
2. Must be able to find his way around. The crutch: we drive or accompany our children everywhere, even when a bus, their bicycle, or their own feet could get them there. I want my boys to be able to navigate, cope with transportation options and snafus, know how to fill the car with gas, etc.
3. Must be able to manage his assignments, workload and deadlines. The crutch: we remind our kids when their homework is due and when to do it—sometimes helping them do it, sometimes doing it for them. I want my boys to be able to prioritize tasks, manage workload and meet deadlines without regular reminders.
4. Must be able to contribute to the running of a household. The crutch: we don't ask them to help much because the checklist childhood leaves little time in the day for anything aside from academic and extracurricular work. I want my boys to know how to look after their own needs, respect the needs of others and do their fair share for the good of the whole.
5. Must be able to handle interpersonal problems. The crutch: we step in to solve misunderstandings and sooth hurt feelings. I want my boys to know how to cope with and resolve conflicts without my constant intervention.
6. Must be able to cope with ups and downs. The crutch: we step in when things get hard, finish the task, extend the deadline, talk to the adults. I want my boys to know that in the normal course of life things won't always go their way…and they WILL be okay.
7. Must be able to earn and manage money. The crutch: they don't hold part-time jobs; they receive money from us for whatever they want or need. I want my boys to develop a sense of responsibility for completing job tasks, having accountability to a boss who doesn't inherently love them, or have an appreciation for the cost of things and how they need to manage money.
8. Must be able to take risks. The crutch: we've laid out their entire path for them and avoided all pitfalls or prevented all stumbles. I want my boys to develop the wise understanding that success comes only after trying and failing and trying again (a.k.a. “grit”) or the thick skin (a.k.a. “resilience”) that comes from coping when things have gone wrong.
Man am I glad I still have eight years. “Lightened my load about parenting?” you ask. Yes. The reason my load is so heavy is because I'm often raising these boys in fear. I've taken far too much on my own shoulders to make things “better” or “easier” for them when in the long run that's teaching them nothing and not only hurting me, but them as well.
About the author: My name is Katy Congdon and I've been married to the most fabulous Mark Congdon now for 13 years! We have three incredible boys: Judah (9), Asher (7) and Reuben (3) who keep us young and incredibly busy! Mark and I have a huge passion for the young families age group and are currently assisting with the young family's ministry at Topeka Bible Church. The small group we have been leading has been on parenting and we are excited to see where this ministry leads! Mark is an educator in a high school and I am an independent consultant with Usborne Books & More, working hard to make books a priority again in this day and age. Raising godly men who are as prepared as they can be for this world when they leave our home is our goal.