My middle son is graduating from college this month. A semester earlier than scheduled. He is 21, and he can’t wait to move out and start working full-time.
My oldest son has taken the long road. He has another year and a half before finishing his course-work and on-the-job training as a HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) Apprentice. He’s 26 and still lives in my basement, although his pre-launch days are numbered…
My youngest son is a senior in high school planning on a seven-year commitment as he studies and prepares to become a Lutheran pastor halfway across the country. He is 17. And the jury is still out on him.
But the jury is very much seated in the box for my two oldest. And they have a verdict.
So why such a difference in motivation? And what about treating each of your children the same? Isn’t that what’s fair?
First, let’s just say parenting is not an exact science. Every child is different. Two parents can raise the biological siblings under the same roof, and same circumstances, and get two different results. Clearly.
But what we did wrong with the first one is we gave him too much.
He didn’t have to
work hard for everything he got. So he squandered it. Again and again. Cars. Tuition. Musical instruments. You name it. It’s been lost, stolen, ruined, or wasted.
And then God intervened in our lives and it became a necessity for our middle son to pay his own way through college with just a little bit of help from us on tuition, books, and expenses.
Now how do you think that went?
This boy has worked his butt off in school and out of it. He’s done paid internships while in school. He has spent summers doing manual labor for crappy pay.
He has started
several businesses online as a young entrepreneur. He even goes to Goodwill and finds things he can make a profit off of by selling on E-bay.
For Christmas, he asked for fifteen specific books on entrepreneurship, business, success, etc.
Oh, and he’s an honor student in computer engineering. Not too shabby.
How’s that for motivation?
My husband and I have made some great parenting decisions and some not-so-great parenting decisions. And yet, if we had it to do over again, we’re not sure what we’d do differently.
Except maybe we’d have realized that deprivation can instill motivation. As Ben Franklin said, “Hunger is the best pickle.” I understand what he meant now.
In this season of excess, remember that Jesus is the reason for the season.
Jesus came into this world in a humble manger. He lived among the common sinners. He was executed between two thieves.
Thank God–by his stripes we are healed!
That’s a pretty vivid reminder for the rest of us that less is definitely more.
Thanks for reading!
Susan J. Anderson
Foxy Writer Chick