Saturday at cheerleading, we found out that one of the girls decided to quit. The reason was that the coach was being harsh on the girl and the girl's mom didn't like it. I guess the mom of the girl said "They're only 11, coach!". That comment sort of struck me. In a day when we see so clearly what a lack of taking responsibility for our actions can do to a person, a family, a nation, it seems like at 11, we can expect a certain level of behavior. Can't we.
But, really, I can't judge that mom too harshly. Because, it has come to my attention that I've fallen into the same trap.
It happened so quickly and yet so subtly. I used to be so big on the kids cleaning up their own messes and taking care of their own things. I used to be big on not necessarily getting everything you wanted, but wanting everything you got. "You get what you get and you like it!" was the motto around here.
And, then, they started school. And, people weren't always nice. Teachers yelled. Kids were mean. Schedules were busy. And, somewhere I thought that if I could ease their burden a bit, it would be better for them. Hey, let me pack your backpack...you relax it's going to be a hard day. Hey, I'll clean up your breakfast dishes, you go ahead and relax. I'll set the table, make dinner, clean up the family room, etc, etc, etc, you go out and play...you've had a hard day. Hey, I'll call your teacher and make sure they go easy on you, they probably don't know how hard you have it. You can't be expected to listen...you're only 11.
I thought I was doing the right thing by keeping things easy on them at home. I thought I was giving them that "soft place to land", which I totally believe is so important, but I have to find a way to do that that doesn't kill the lesson of personal responsibility. The future of our country depends on us teaching our children this important lesson. Afterall, 11 is plenty old enough to learn how to behave.