Hollie Grimaldi Flores: What is best
August 29, 2018
We all want what is best for our children. I think that is a safe statement.
From the time we realize we have a baby on the way until long after they have grown, most parents are doing the best they can with what they have. It seems the longer we are at the task, the more difficult it becomes to discern what "best" is.
When we were raising them, giving them affection and stability was paramount. We worked to make certain they got plenty of playtime, plenty of rest, plenty of food and plenty of love.
We bought toys to stimulate their brains and help with coordination. When it came time for daycare, we interviewed facilities and consulted with other parents. Many of us moved to the school district we felt would best be able to provide the most positive educational experience. We volunteered and helped with fundraisers to make certain they were able to enjoy the latest technology and go on the best field trips.
As they grew older, we set boundaries, hoping to keep them safe. If we did our jobs, we talked to them about their changing bodies and conflicting feelings about sex. We discussed the dangers of drugs and alcohol. We taught them to drive. We (hopefully) set an example and then we sent them on their way. Some with a more stable foundation than others.
Nurture vs. nature
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I often ponder the nurture versus nature debate. Were they who they were when they came into this world, regardless of their circumstance, or did their circumstance make them who they are?
As a parent of young (ish) adult children, the desire to continue to nurture and to help them continue to grow is confounding.
I have a friend who wisely states, "Every time you step in to help, you are telling them you don't think they are capable of helping themselves."
This is a much easier statement from her perspective, having been able to help her children with college tuition, housing, and reliable transportation. They can help themselves without worrying about a job or debt. I do not begrudge her for being able to provide this aid.
Many parents save and sacrifice to be able to provide this same start for their children. It is a wonderful gift. One not always appreciated by the recipients. There will be other obstacles and different opportunities to discover independence and self-sufficiency.
I am currently sitting on my helpless hands, doing my best to show my confidence in the abilities of a couple of the kids/adults. One desperately needs a reliable vehicle to get to school and to work.
Public transportation does not run on a cooperative timetable. Uber, friends and classmates are being utilized and while it is working, the added stress is showing up in schoolwork, as added shifts are needed at work to cover additional costs.
As the mom, I feel somewhat powerless in not being able to help with that burden. I sleep at night knowing it is not life threatening, but rather another hurdle to clear along the rocky road of life.
Another of the offspring is floundering from a lack of direction. Not having found a vocational path, college has been delayed. Partnered with a lack of ambition, jobs are fleeting. Advice is given and received with mediocre enthusiasm.
Again, I am not certain how to be of assistance. I ask myself over and over, "If I could help, would I be helping?" And how did this one miss the lessons the others received so completely?
When I moved away from my parent's home, there was no going back. Of course, it was a vastly different time. Rents were reasonable. Jobs were easy to come by. Tuition was inexpensive. Beat up old cars ran forever, and gas was under a dollar a gallon. Even so, I struggled to make ends meet.
I stayed up late working my way through school, slept through morning classes, found the energy to push through. I was an adult.
The message I received from my parents was clearly: "You are fully-grown now. You are on your own." That lead to my much-misinformed notion that once my kids were out of the house, my work as a parent would be complete. Game over.
Of course, now I realize the game never actually ends. The rules simply change.
I trust it's all for the best.
Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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