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Adapt and overcome. It is a simple, common-sense value. Sadly, it is also one area where my generation falls short of the mark. In fact, we so deeply undercut the mark that the generation coming up behind us couldn’t spot it with a telescope.
What if something a little worse than, “My stupid cable provider went down and I missed American Idol” happens? I don’t even get television, but I’ve heard my friends melt down over these exact words before. What if something major happened here? Would I be able to adapt to quickly changing circumstances and overcome whatever is dumped on me? Would my friends? Children? Being married to a firefighter, I’ve always known that if anything big happens, I’m on my own. I’m not afraid of that thought. I don’t feel betrayed by my husband or the fire department for my reality either, because major events are what they are there for.
My concern is my children though. Parents want to do what’s best for their kids. Unfortunately anymore that means that parents do absolutely everything for them, including: arguing with teachers over Junior’s lazy grades; preventing or fixing all mistakes; catering to their every desire; and paying for whatever they want including cell phones, texting, electronic gadgets, car insurance, gas money, and new clothes from the only company that anyone buys clothes from anymore! The worst offense, in my opinion, is the inability to tell kids, “No.” What a simple and sweet word it is, but enjoy the sound now because it’s going the way of the Dodo. If our generation had heard, “No” more when we were kids, I think more of us would pass its intrinsic value on to our kids.
Thankfully our daughters understand that nothing in life is free and chores are more of a gate pass to enter our family rather than a right to a weekly stipend. They are also well-versed in the use of, “No.” They’ve heard it in at least three languages, at varying decibels, in countless locations, and most importantly, in front of others. Feel pity for them if you must because they certainly don’t. They understand that every, “No,” comes with a reason. Sometimes they are allowed to ask the reason and other times the answer is simply, “No, because I’m the parent and I said so right now.” Because of this simple training skill, our girls have honed their abilities to adapt and overcome. For example, when I said, “No,” to my daughter’s request to waste her money on a toy, she saved and thought about it. Now she wants to take all her piggy bank fund and go in half with my husband and me to buy a good quality violin since she’s excelling in orchestra.
The younger girls understand this thought too. When I told them yesterday that if they would stop fussing at the dog, she would stop chasing the cat, they decided it would be best to yell at the cat to, “Run!” They adapted, but unfortunately failed to overcome on this one. The cat is now safely out of her hidey hole under the shed though and at least the little ones learned half the lesson, right? They’re still ahead of most.