To Independence!

Fireworks, barbeques, apple pie, family reunions, and another year to celebrate our nation’s independence! I love summer, although for those of us in the Pacific Northwest, we’re impatiently awaiting its arrival. No sign of global warming here!
So, on yet another cool and rainy day, I’ve been reflecting on the word, “Independence,” but this time in an entirely different context…
As I meet with schools and business leaders across the nation, I’m hearing some alarming comments and stories:

  • A 24-year old man brought his mother to his final interview for a major sales position; she wanted to make sure her son landed the job (he didn’t!)
  • Companies are now training their managers to deal with parent threats when their son/daughter didn’t receive a “deserved” pay increase or promotion
  • Colleges administrators are enduring parent pressure when students earn less than an “A” in their courses
  • Young people are becoming increasingly risk averse for fear of failure
  • Counselors report marked increases in student apathy, disrespect, and an entitlement mentality
  • Record numbers of adults are living with their parents

How did it come to this?
Could these be the unintended consequences of parents who are overmanaging/overprotecting their children? And, of schools that are cutting back on leadership and life skills programs in favor of other priorities? Are we missing the big picture by not holistically preparing our children for independent life?
Whether as parents or educators, we’re called to develop today’s young people into the honorable and productive leaders of tomorrow. It’s a mission of the highest order and it requires high expectations, accountability, and shifting our parenting approach from “control” to “influence.”
How do we promote independence in our young people? The answer is to TRAIN, EMPOWER, and RELEASE them.
It takes all three to set them free!
Happy 4th of July! We’d love to hear your solutions.

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