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Let Them Grow UP

Last night I lay in the bed staring through the darkness at the wall. The knot in my stomach turned and grew. I’d allowed my child to make a decision alone earlier in the day. It wasn’t a life-or-death decision but it was a decision that could affect the future for all of us.

My mind flew back to an interview I had with a young woman a few years ago. She had applied for a job with my company and I was moving through the list of interview questions with her. I asked her where she wanted to be in five years or ten years and she told me the position she wanted to hold. My heart sank because I knew this job wasn’t right for her. Not because she wanted to eventually hold a job with a higher title, I can retitle a position. My heart sank because she had no idea what she wanted, she had no direction. A title isn’t a direction, it isn’t a career, it’s a J-O-B.

The scenario repeats itself over and over again in interviews. Over the last five years I’ve hired almost exclusively people in the millennial generation and I’ve had this same interview multiple times.

Before you think I’m bashing the millennial generation, keep reading. A friend recently posted a link to an article about the things millennials don’t know how to do and was poking fun at this generation. It took all I had in me to not point out that this same person refused to require their children to do any chores around the house. Which is exactly why this generation which shows so much promise has no idea how to wash their own clothes or balance their checkbook much less make life decisions.

It’s not because they are ignorant, it’s because a mama looked at a situation and said “this will end badly if we do it your way so we’re doing it my way” and she wasn’t looking at a toddler who wanted to run across a busy highway. She was looking at a teenager who wanted to fill her high school schedule with fluff classes.

I am barely even into the stage of new decision making, so please do not think I am judging you. In the above situation I would probably put my foot down too because I am an overachiever and I can not stand the idea that my child might not get the education they need. But I’m beginning to realize the flaw behind the song “Let Them Be Little”.

We can cradle our 16 year olds all day long but it will not make them 6 months old again. Instead it will make them act like they are 6 years old at 16 and that really helps no one. At some point we have to realize our children must grow up. It’s the purpose of children in the first place.

As Christian parents we are to teach them Christian principles and launch them into the world so they can shine the light of Christ out there for all to see. They can’t do that in our shadow. They won’t know how to do that if we don’t allow them to make their own decisions and their own mistakes.

I’ve been listening to a podcast with entrepreneurs and the host always asks the guest about their worst entrepreneurial moment. Then he asks “what did you learn from it?”.

When we let our kids make decisions one of two things happens: they gain confidence in their decision making skills because it went well or they learn from their mistakes. Either way, our kids actually win.

Meanwhile as moms we lay awake staring at the wall in the dark all night long.

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