Behind the Mayonnaise…raising self-sufficient kids.
A very old friend and roommate of mine and I used to joke about how whenever anything was lost, it could always be found behind the mayonnaise. He was a typical male, and was constantly asking me where to find everything. I have kept the joke going with my husband over the years. Now, not only do I live with a man, but I also have three children to contend with. No one can ever find anything. I finally took a stand. I don’t find things for people anymore. Well, I do still help my husband out. We are partners after all, but the kiddos are on their own.
I am teaching my children to be resourceful and self-sufficient. It is important. Again, I stress, it is really important. I don’t always get it right. I fail in some areas. I don’t always tell my kids to go and look up a word when they ask me how to spell it…I do it a lot though, and I think that I do it a lot more than most parents do, which is why I am bringing it up. Some friends of ours were staying with us and I literally listened to my friend’s son asking her to cut his toenails. That child was thirteen years old at the time. It took all of my self-restraint not to dive across the room and grab those clippers out of her hand! She didn’t realize at all that it was ridiculous for a child of that age not to be able to cut his own toenails. Because we love our children we must teach them to do things for themselves. We can’t keep coddling them and contributing to this lazy society. We are messing this thing up big time!
We have seasonal passes at Disney this year, as we did about four years ago. We also have a friend who does landscaping for the parks. He told us about the abundance of stroller parking meetings that he must attend every time that they re-design a guest area. If you have never been, wow…strollers as far as the eye can see. To be honest, we have never put our children in a stroller at the parks and the first time that we had passes our youngest was three. It’s a lot of walking and our kids have always done it on their own. I was literally a little concerned when they were younger, that someone who thought that we were abusing our kids by making them walk might approach us. I swear I have seen mentally normal children of nine, ten, and eleven years of age in strollers at those parks. It is disgusting. And yes, often the older children that I see being pushed along are very overweight, usually with an unhealthy snack in hand. I can’t understand why these parents don’t see that they are literally heading their kids towards a future like the one in the movie wall-e, where everyone is handicapped by their own gluttony.
My favorite comedian George Carlin did a bit about “Adorable Little Morons” once. Of course this speaks to children’s intelligence rather then their self-sufficiency, but it’s pretty much the same thing. I believe that his disgust in the description of these children inspired me to promise myself that I would never let it happen to my kids. Speaking to intelligence rather than self-reliance, aside from mental disability, most every child has the capacity to be smart, if they are only given the chance. We disable our children by doing everything for them. We make them weaker; we rob them of the confidence that comes from conquering challenges on their own. Please do not do this to your kids or to anyone else’s. Help, when help is really needed. Otherwise, let them learn to do things on their own. Teach, guide, and coach, don’t coddle and hinder self-development. How can we ever hope for our children to become interdependent, if we’re not even teaching them to be independent? Encourage them to find what they are seeking on their own. They will find it, it’s easy…besides it’s always right behind the mayonnaise.