Parental Worry is Never Over


Anyone who has kids knows that it is a parent’s role to become obsolete.  I’ve heard it said that you can judge how good a job you did as a parent by how quickly you become obsolete.  The only problem with that logic is the kids think you are obsolete before you actually are.

I have sons.  I have done my best to give them control over their thoughts as they grew up, to let them decide things for themselves.  Obviously, when a kid is six these decisions are limited to what shorts he wants to wear.  As they get older, they get to choose haircuts, meals, and classes to take in school.  But there always comes a point where they get to choose where they live and how they live.  This is the point of parental obsolescence.  Or it should be. 

I will be the first to admit that I haven’t dealt well with my children’s coming of age.  They are gone from the house more and more, and I’m not always sure where they are or whom they are with.  They don’t seek my advice on much anymore unless they think I’ll agree with them.  They can’t stand to have me question their budding judgement, and show their disapproval by disappearing into their room for hours.   And every one of these episodes causes me to die inside a little more.  I have given these boys all I have for as long as I remember.  Now, it seems, I have instantly become a total idiot, unaware of the feelings a teenage boy has about girls, or his uncertainty about his chosen profession. 

 I get it, guys.  I understand.  I’m still uncertain about what I’m doing.  I know how it feels to need your parents but not want them any more.  I know what it is to want to be on  your own.  I feel you. 

But this doesn’t mean that I’m going to say “Go ahead and do what you want.  I’m with you.”  Especially if I see them making a mistake or not thinking a problem or plan through.  That’s all I want.  Think it through.  Come up with a plan.  Then execute the plan.   That way, you don’t have to come back home and live with me and the wife.  But if you are blindly entering life, you are going to gen some bumps and bruises. 

Maybe that’s the right way to go.  Let them get the bumps.  That way, they can also figure out how to treat inflammation. 

I love my kids and don’t want to see them hurt.  But part of parental obsolescence is learing how to let them figure things out for themselves, and sometimes life has a way to teaching you lessons that tend to sting a little. 

It’s that time for one of my kids. 

I’ll be there to offer advice if he asks for it, support if he needs it, and an ear to listen when he wants to talk.  But I ain’t no yes man.  Part of being a man is getting an opinion you don’t want to hear and learning from it anyway. 

It’s tough not to worry.  I guess that never goes away.  Since there is no qualification process or manual to read on how to raise kids, most of us have to make spot decisions and hope for the best.  I hope and pray that I have not failed them.  I know I wasn’t always right, but I always did my best where they were concerned.  Now I have to turn them out to make their way in the world, one at a time. 

I hope that my son will realize one day that the old man isn’t as stupid as he thinks.  And I hope it’s not too late when he does. 

Parenting is the only job you get without training or experience and never can retire from.  But you can be fired as a direct contributor and become a consultant.  

Almost there.

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2 Responses to “Parental Worry is Never Over”

  1. michael Says:

    Sorry Dad.

    • babaje2 Says:

      Don’t be. It’s part of life. It’s tough to watch your hatchlings try to learn how to fly without feeling a little old and useless. You’ll see.
      Thanks for at least reading my blog. Some interesting stuff, I hope.

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