Is It Really Worth It?

worth it

As I write this article, my oldest child is transferring from a small college in upstate New York to a very large college in Flagstaff, Arizona, my 16 year old is getting ready to leave for 6 months to live in Argentina as an exchange student and my youngest son heads to boarding school in Pennsylvania.

While I watch my children slowly make their way out of my house and into their own lives, I am reminded of how often my choice of parenting principles has served not only me, but my children.

The sheer number of forms necessary for these three children to accomplish their goals is, at times, incomprehensible. This does not take into account the number of phone calls to schools, physicians, consulates, airlines, police stations and computer stores to gather information, send checks or verify shipping instructions. Fortunately, all three of them have taken the lead in every aspect of their plans.

There hasn’t been much nagging, reminding, lecturing, saving or screaming and, let me tell you something, if you think it’s tough dealing with a 3 year old at 5:00 PM who missed his/her nap… it’s NOTHING compared to how BAD it could be if these three young people were not completely competent, confident and capable!

Instead of a painful, stressful experience, this summer of planning has been filled with moments of:

  • 1 parent, 3 teens on 3 different computers at 11:00 pm, all talking and Googling at the same time while someone fills out multiple forms to save time and energy.
  • 2 parents on one speaker phone with 1 teen 600 miles away filling out forms, asking questions and setting up security codes together so we all have access.
  • Pumping fists, high fiving and chest bumping as we complete yet ANOTHER complicated packet of information together or confirm an illusive plane reservation.
  • And many, many moments of complete exhaustion and frustration shared by all of us where, just as we get ready to throw up our hands and slide not so gracefully down the rabbit hole, someone… some smart, intuitive, child suggests that it may be time for a ….. CREAMIE.

We wonder sometimes, whether every tough decision we make when our children are young to:

  • Ignore
  • Walk away
  • Allow for natural consequences
  • Hold weekly family meetings – even when nothing exciting is going on
  • Allow choices that we KNOW will make a mess for a few weeks

When I watch these 3 amazing children, take the first precarious steps into their world as adults, I am awe struck at the grace, confidence and enthusiasm they all exhibit in their own ways.

 

4 thoughts on “Is It Really Worth It?

  1. LOVE this story Vic! THAT is exactly why we are parenting this way!!! It is not always easy and yes there are weeks of messes – but ALL worth it! So my story (which some day will be of the same magnitude as yours!) was that Wyatt (9 years old) wanted a bird. So we put it on the family meeting agenda. Wyatt brough back all of his research to the next family meeting, i.e. cost, care, maintenance…. and low and behold the kid bought a bird (with cage, food, toys, litter, etc) with his own money ($120) and cares for them daily (no nagging or reminding)… THANK YOU SO MUCH VIC!!!

  2. Hey Chris,

    Thanks for the feedback.

    I didn’t think it possible, but each and every day, as the kids get closer and closer to walking into their adult lives, we see the benefits of sticking to a philosophy that supported their independence.

    It is so easy to loose sight of the big picture. It is so easy, to focus on the moment and forget what we want for ourselves, for our children and for our family.

    I am so grateful and I am so delighted, that I can say with confidence, that this philosophy delivers in ways I never expected.

    For anyone out there struggling, visit the forum and share your challenges and concerns with us. We are there to encourage, inspire and support you through the tough times.

    If you have a success, please share that as well. This is the inspiration we need when we are feeling low and confused.

    We are a family of parents, committed to raising our children to be THEIR BEST as a result of us being our best.

    Thank you Chris.

  3. OMG…a friend of mine is pregnant and after spending some time researching the web for some good parenting materials for her (and a dozen Google seaches later), your parenting website comes up along with this page….and I think OMG, I know this person from a long time ago. What a small world we live in! I’m sure you don’t remember much from back in the days when you had a daycare in Edmonds, WA but I do remember your parenting advice from that time and it has served me well all these years.

    Anyho, I passed along the info to her and I have to say you are right about the whole teen college/travel process. it is very daunting for anyone but it is an exciting challenge. And to think of the little things people worry about when their kids are young.

    All the best, keep up the inspiring advice. It doesn’t come up very often, but when someone brings up the issue of parenting in a conversation I tend to share my thoughts.

    Joanne Ferreira
    BTW, do you remember Gabo? He’s now 17

  4. HIIIIII.

    Of course I remember you and I remember Gabo. Oh God, do you have a picture you can send me? Oh gosh, I think about all of you SOOOO often. You can’t imagine how important that time in my life was for me.

    How are you? What are you doing? Where are you living? How is Gabo? Happy, healthy, beautiful, running a company?
    Please, share everything.
    Big Love,
    Vicki

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