Lesson on independence
Well, today I got a text-message on my cell phone, from my daughter who wanted me to find a list of Chik-fil-A stores around the Branson, MO, area. Now, my daughter lives about 200 miles from Branson, and has no immediate plans to go there soon, that I know of.
She also spends a lot of time complaining that her family doesn’t treat her like an adult. It’s probably true, but just as likely it’s entirely deserved. Take the request she made today, for example. She didn’t need that information any time soon. Sure, she does have a crush on a guy who works in Branson – and even feels that there may be some reciprocal feelings from him. Because of this, and some encouragement from one of the guy’s family members, she has been thinking about moving to Branson. But, it’s not going to happen tomorrow, so there is no rush, and she has access to all the resources she needs to find this out herself while she is at her school.
So, to be adult and independent, she needs to learn to do things for herself when she can. It’s alright to accept, even request, help when it’s needed, but you must do what you can for yourself. That is a part of growing up. If you want to be treated like an adult, by other adults, you must first ACT like an adult. When you earn the respect, the treatment flows naturally.
There is a flip-side to this. One can be too cavalier about being helped. When you actually need help, and it is offered from someone with the means to provide it, accept it gracefully and fully. My daughter is bad about that, too. For example, her and her mother have been trying to make it on their own with one part-time job each. They probably have a combined work schedule of 20-25 hours per week. So, her mom has been encouraging my daughter to apply for public assistance. Her mom can’t because she’s still legally married (not even legally seperated) to a man who’s income is far above the guidlines for getting help that way. But, if my daughter was to apply, and even just get food stamps and health care, it would be a major load off of their budget (and minds – my daughter has juvenile diabetes). She sometimes agrees with her mom that it’s a good idea, but even when her mom invests time in finding the places to go to apply, my daughter doesn’t go.
There are two well-known thoughts I’d like to close this lesson with. The first is a very old saying, that is common in militaries all over the globe (and sports lockerrooms). “That which does not kill me makes me stronger.”
The second is a fairly old Christian prayer, for those who are Christian. Actually, anyone can use this by simply plugging in the name of your favorite diety in the place of the word “God”. Here it is:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Now, look at those two “quotes” side-by-side. See anything in common? What can they teach us?