Monday, January 23, 2012

What if?

How do you become this kind of parent?  
or this kind of parent?

How do you become the kind of parent that in fifteen years has shared enough pertinent information with your child to keep them alive while living independently in hazardous conditions?  How do you hug them and kiss them goodbye?  
I would like to think that this is the goal of this journey we are on.  To raise our daughters to become independent, risk taking, passionate, courageous, fearless young women.   When presented with an opportunity to pursue their passions they would be prepared enough to meet the opportunity head on with determination and perseverance. 

In just four years would I let Grace go off on a storm chasing adventure?  I can’t see Lilah desiring anything so dangerous but what if she had the chance to accompany a biologist to the Galapagos Islands?  

What if?
Am I raising daughters who will be prepared to accept these kind of offers?  If I am honest with myself, I don’t think so.   
What types of life skills would you need to take on an challenge of living independently at a young age?

  • money management
  • homemaking skills such as laundry, food preparation,
  • necessities for travel like passport documentation, packing skills, ability to navigate an airport, connecting flights, hotel bookings, hostels, foreign currency, exchange rates.
  • natural medicine to keep them healthy, first aid, how to seek medical care in a foreign land.

Over the past year I have begun to teach these things.  I know that my girls could sustain themselves with their basic cooking skills for a few days.  They can make eggs, pancakes, salads, sandwiches, quesadilas, pasta, meatballs, and if need be, we are close enough to walk to a grocery store for supplies.
They can do laundry but choose not to, simply because why do your own laundry when your Mom and Dad will do it for you?  Hmmm.
They can clean a house much better than I can but again, choose not to because it is done for them.  Hmmm.  (I have to compliment my girls again on the job they did last week on the back room, front room and bathrooms.  Well done girls!)
Many of the other things on my list could be introduced the next time we travel with Greg, which hopefully will be this spring.  Rather than take on everything myself, they could look up airlines, pack their own carry on, determine what is necessary and what can be left home.  We can go together to get the documentation to apply for passports and to have mine renewed.  The next time we travel to New York, they can use Metro North to look up schedules and determine if our travel will involve peak rates.  They can handle the taxi and the subway.
I would love to know what the parents of these children did in preparation for these trips.  Was it conscious  preparation for the realization of a dream or was it unintentional preparation through the daily routines we all go through?  How did they have faith to let their children go?  Would they have done anything different?  Would they say yes if they could have a do-over?  
These stories make me wonder.  I want to be that parent.  I want my children to discover what makes them happy.  I want them to pursue their passions, either on a traditional route or one that they make up as they go.  I wonder.
I wonder if they will want to do something like this when they are older.  I never did.  I just did not have that gene in me.  The most I wanted to do was attend college in New York City but ended up pursuing a different area of study.  I wonder.  I wonder if I would say yes.  I hope I would will.

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