Yesterday’s post 3/6/17 ended with a young adults “running down their dream life path” with the consent of supportive parents. How pleasant…
But what if they fail, or what if they exploit the encouragement and become lazy, entitled, video-game playing coach potatoes? What if the enabling “ruins their life”, and they end up moving back in?
Well, as a parent, I am not concerned about this negative outcome, based on my personal experiences, observation, and direct conversation with thousands of young people over the years.
First of all, parental support can’t ruin your young adult’s life, because it is his (her) life. Young adults will ultimately determine their own path, either with or without the parents’ blessing.
If a young adult decides, after deep research, planning and introspection, that she wants to become a musician instead of a Doctor, it is better in the long run to help her pursue a musical career.
If it works out, she will appreciate your belief in her when others thought she was foolish. If not, simply regroup and start again on another life path. She will appreciate your unconditional support and acceptance of her dEire to give it a go.
Failure would only be devastating if she didn’t have the family support needed to regroup and implement Plan B.
Second, as I look back on the path I have taken, and the notable transition points, one “lighthouse” emerges as the key to my success: My family safety net during each transition. It liberated me to take calculated risks as I expanded far beyond my comfort zone. When the seas got rough, I always knew I could safely navigate back to the “lighthouse” if needed.
When I graduated college and had a delay of one and a half years before I went off to flight training, I slept in the living room of my mom’s small one bedroom apartment. Every day, I got up, straightened up the living room, put on a suit and went out to sell fax machines. Blog post: It’s A Numbers Game
In January 1996 at 30 years old I left the Army, but had a delay of 8 months before starting my MBA program at UNC-Chapel Hill. Where did I go? I stayed in an extra bedroom at my brother’s family townhouse.
I didn’t hesitate to think that my family would put me up, and there was no question where I was headed (home), whenever I came upon a transition point. Having a home to return to during these junctions, emboldened me to push the limits and aggressively pursue my goals. Worst case, if my Plan A failed, I knew I could return home, and formulate a Plan B.
Third, young people become lazy and disconnected when they are bored and uninspired, and that usually happens when they are not being challenged to explore their interests, and to develop their natural strengths. Or more likely, when they are living other people’s priorities and expectations.
Let’s ensure that young people feel like they can chart their unique path in life, and have the courage to take the road less traveled if that is most consistent with their rigorous self-analysis. Blog post: Where Is Your Ship Heading
If we provide young adults the freedom to explore, safety net to rely on, and the liberation to take a change on a dream, we will be proud of the productive, engaged and positive members of society that emerge.