Almost every one of us parents remember the day one of our parents came to give us “the talk.” But later, when it’s our turn to give “the talk,” we find ourselves speechless. Parenting goes way beyond teaching our children about the birds and the bees. We also have to teach our teenagers that actions have consequences, and that “breaking bad” will only lead them deeper and deeper into trouble.
Nothing can bring a truth home quicker than in the laboratory of life. The invisible, yet powerful laws that govern the universe are totally impartial. Wherever anyone chooses a road to follow, if they stay on it, they will all end up at a common destination, whether they believe it or not. Sometimes as a parent, the best thing we can do is to stop lecturing, step back, and let adult consequences follow adult choices. Many times, the lab of life is a much better teacher for our teens then a thousand lectures in the classroom.
Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle
Living a double life will always catch up with you. My parents used to tell me that if I lie they know, and if I did something wrong, they would always find out about it. Funny how it always seemed to work out that way. Sometimes we need to let our teens “go to school” on the double lives of other teens. Only then can they objectively see how foolish they have become. Sometimes teens are uncertain about their identity, and they need reminded who they are, and who they are not.
Shutting Down the Lab
The endgame of a good parent is to put themselves out of a job. The endgame of a great parent is to see their teens making wise choices, and to go further in life then they did. When our child is born, in that moment, we cut the umbilical cord. But when our teen becomes an adult, we do not all of a sudden cut the cord at age eighteen. We gradually cut it, one slice at a time, one talk at a time, one life lesson at a time, one day at a time. We teach our children by telling them “no”. We train our teenagers by watching them tell themselves “no”. Then one day we realize it’s time to shut down our lab, and watch our grandchildren learn “to cook.”