I sat in the minivan, parked outside Price Chopper, and watched him. He tried swiping the credit card on the RedBox machine about ten times and then just stood there. He looked back at me and smiled and then tried again. He was still unsuccessful and I watched as the lady at the machine next to him leaned over and showed him how to swipe the card correctly.
I had rented a movie for Josh and I to watch after the kids went to bed and decided to pick it up on the way home. I had all the kids and didn’t want to leave them in the car in the parking lot while I picked up the movie or get them ALL out of the car. So I gave Max a quick run down of how to pick up the movie and let him go.
A few minutes later, he came bounding out of Price Chopper, movie in hand and feeling very proud of himself. I know it’s just a silly little thing like picking up the RedBox movie, but it’s part of a much bigger plan. You see, we really want to raise kids who are independent and I think this is just one small step toward that.
I remember sitting on an airplane recently with Josh. There was a kid flying alone and I said to Josh, all in the same breath, “I would never let our kids fly alone. Can you imagine our kids flying somewhere all by themselves?… Actually, that would probably be incredibly good for them. You’d have to be pretty independent and responsible to fly somewhere all alone, navigate a new airport, find your luggage, and figure out where to go from there… Maybe we should send them somewhere on an airplane…”
This parenting thing is hard. As a mom, it’s just natural for me to be protective of my kids. But sometimes that instinct to be protective goes a little overboard and my kids lose out on the chance to learn how to be independent. So this is something we’ve been talking about more and more lately. Because we’re trying really hard to be intentional about the way we’re raising our kids.
And the first step to that is figuring out WHAT it is you’re trying to instill in your kids. For us, this means recognizing that we want to raise confident, independent, responsible little people who can take care of themselves. The next step is figuring out how to cultivate those character traits and then intentionally doing those things. And sometimes that means letting go… even if takes MANY baby steps to get there! I’d love to hear how you’re cultivating independence in your kids! Leave me a comment below!