I was 18 years old when I moved out of my parents house. I had carefully selected the cheapest apartment as close to the University as possible and moved in with a good friend from high school. I was THRILLED. After walking the aisles of WalMart for hours, I made my way out of the store with everything I needed to begin my life as an independent youth, including this beautiful toaster for $9.99 🙂
This stupid toaster meant so much to me that regardless of the fact that some of the plastic had melted into weird shapes and you had to push it down “just right”… I had kept it. Sure it burned your fingers because the toast never popped up fully… but it was MY toaster… the one that marked MY independence….
Well friends… I finally made the jump and got a new toaster. After 14 years, I laid my WalMart special to rest. “Why”, you may ask, “would you part with such a tangible part of your journey in life?” Well… I found someone else yearning for their independence…
It was 6:30 in the morning and QUIET… Ollie and Henry were up already and I was watching a show with Henry. Suddenly I felt concerned with the quiet… It should NOT be quiet when Henry and Ollie are awake if all is going well! I checked on Ollie and found him in the kitchen. He had pulled out a loaf of bread and laid out six pieces on the counter, ate 1/3 of a slice, and was jamming 3 slices into my college toaster!
Way to go Ollie! All I could do was smile with satisfaction that he had decided that he needed something and he was going to do it himself.
But he had one problem… The toast never popped up high enough for anyone to successfully get their fingers out unscathed. Within a few days I made my way over to Bi-Mart and purchased a toaster that looked like it’d launch bread the highest. With joy and sadness I said goodbye to my college toaster and welcomed this new bad boy into our home.
As a parent I am sure many of you can relate to the joy of watching your kids grow and develop. Seeing Ollie find things that he can do on his own is one of the most spectacular things I have witnessed. I love watching him assert himself.
Today my encouragement to you is to help your child find something he/shee can do independently. I know it’s tough! It takes more time. It makes bigger messes! I can’t tell you how often I sweep near the toaster! But I promise it’s worth it in the long run. Investing into their future is also a huge investment into your future. Did you want to potty train? Absolutely not. It’s tedious and messy. Was it worth it? Heck ya! Your child can now independently go to the bathroom and wipe his own bum. (#win) Children that have ownership over themselves and their decisions turn out to be teens and adults that are responsible and independent. If we do everything for our kids, how can they learn to problem solve, persevere, or take pride in their accomplishments?
I hope you are well. I hope you feel loved today. And I hope you take my challenge to find just one thing today that will help your child gain a little more independence 🙂