Fostering Dependence vs. Independence

I have not read the book, but I am fascinated by the concept. How often do we baby our kids? How do strategically set them up for success?

A friend shared this article: “If Your Kid Left His Term Paper at Home, Don’t Bring It to Him” and it hit home. The article refers to the book: The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed by Jessica Lahey. I have added it to my reading list. Of course I have yet to birth this baby, but that does not mean I do not think about how we want to raise him and how dependence can happen so early, and often without parents really knowing it is happening. The author mentions parents who go back home because the kid forgot their homework assignment or lacrosse stick — teaching kids what?

“Over-parenting or fostering dependence, as she describes bailout behavior, has the potential to undermine children’s personal confidence and robs them of the grit they’ll need to succeed in the real world, after they’ve left the safe bubble of home.”

I will tell you, I never remember my parents bringing something I forgot to school. They were at work, at one point in elementary school my mom was teaching at my very school. She was not going to leave to bring something I forgot. As my dad would have told me: “Tough luck.” He was not going to go out of his way to take care of things that were mine to remember. That was my responsibility. He never thought of it as “letting me fail.” He just knew I would learn the hard way to remember — whatever the consequences of my choices.

Food for thought.

Our lives are not vacuums

Sometimes we live in little bubbles. We get in our cars in the morning (or maybe on a bike, or via public transit) and go off to work. Some days we highly engage with others, and some days we may never leave our desk, but often the routine is the same. We spend our days in a fairly similar fashion, and then turn around and come home, partake in our evening activities, go to bed and turn around and do it all over again the next day. We all have our own form of a bubble, just some of us have larger or smaller bubbles than others.

Yet, we have the ability to pop those bubbles, to expand and grow our horizons, learn new things, or never take the same route home each day. Our lives are weaved together each moment of every day. Our choices build the story of what others think of us, good or bad. If we are continuously dependable others will begin to depend on us. If we do not show up as continuously dependable then trust begins to erode. We always have a choice to how we show up, and how we tell our own stories.

I wrote a blog post last year titled: “Brand YOU” and discuss how we each create our own brands, and decide how we market ourselves. I recently finished reading Austin Kleon’s newest book: “Show Your Work” and well I am always a sucker for inspiration around telling a story, specifically when it relates to a personal story. This idea specifically resonates with me:

“Your work doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Whether you realize it or not, you’re already telling a story about your work. Every email you send, every text, every conversation, every blog comment, every tweet, every photo, every video–they’re all bits and pieces of a multimedia narrative you’re constantly constructing. If you want to be more effective when sharing yourself and your work, you need to become a better storyteller. You need to know what a good story is and how to tell one.” page 95

Pop your bubble, remember that every interaction you have is a line in your story, and how you tell your story (via in person, Instagram, Facebook, etc) is part of the Brand you are weaving. Now with the Internet that weave is permanent and hard to unravel, so put some thought around the mark you want to make.