I often think about what my kids will be like when they grow up. What will they do? Who will they be? What will they go through to get there? I have 16 years until Tobias is turning 18. That’s such a long time. But then, it’s not. It is going to fly by for me. I am already watching him change every single day and he’s not even 2 yet. I watch him get upset when he tries to pull something across the room and he gets stuck on something. And I think about his stress versus my own. All I want to say to him is “Never grow up” because it’s not worth it, it’s too hard. But I promise to make it as easy as I can.
Growing Up Is Hard
It just is. Everyone who’s done it will tell you that. There are so many things that you have to learn. And most of them turn out not to be very fun. But for some reason, all kids want is to grow up.
I remember playing house and wanting nothing more than to grow up, get married, have kids, and a job. I thought it would be the best thing ever. Adults can do whatever they want. They get to drive, and buy anything. They don’t have to do homework. It was just going to be the best. And I wanted to hurry up and get there. We all did.
But once you do grow up, and you are an adult, you realize it’s not all so fun and easy.
Being married and having kids is a lot of work and responsibility. In every decision you make you have to think about how it will impact you all. You have to consult with your spouse about things to make sure you are on the same page. And sometimes you won’t be and someone isn’t going to get what they want.
It’s stressful and scary. Adults and parents are pretty much scared all the time for one reason or another. There’s stress and worry in just about everything. And while all that is happening, you also have to remember that stress shortens your life and to not let it get to you. It’s all very confusing.
Growing up is hard. I hope my kids never grow up.
All The Firsts
There are so many firsts in life. Some are good.
First steps and words. First concert and first road trip. A first date. A first kiss. Your first love.
And some are really tough.
First failed test. Your first broken bone. First time you lose your job. And your first heartbreak.
A lot of the time, too much of the time, a first comes with pain. Doing something for the first time is scary no matter the outcome. When you are in uncharted waters you won’t know what to do. What is expected of you here?
I want to spare my kids the pain of a first heartbreak. I never want them to be fired or laid off. My kids should never have to get a test back with a failing grade. But they will. I can’t save them from it. They will feel pain and sadness. And one day they will know what it is to have a broken heart and to be disappointed.
But I wish I could just tell them to stay little. And happy. And safe. Never grow up.
Never Grow Up
Growing up is cold. Growing up is lonely. Stay little and naïve. Remain where the world is simple and wondrous and beautiful and safe.
But we all grow up. My kids will grow up. Just like I did.
And it is my job to prepare them for it. To teach them everything they need to know about life. So that when it happens, as life always does, they will be ready.
Ready for the hard times as well as the easy ones. They need to know to enjoy all the good when it is happening. And to have faith that they will make it through all the rough patches they face.
I need to teach them everything that the schools don’t. That the don’t have to have the popular opinion. It’s okay to disagree as long as you are respectful. That there is good in everyone and everything but we need to look deep enough to see it.
Now this is the important part, so listen carefully my fellow parents. Every child wants nothing more than to grow up. Then one day, they understand why we tell them not to. Why we tell them to be patient and enjoy being little. And they want to make it stop. They want to stop growing up. And they realize it really is hard, and that we, their parents, were right. They should’ve stayed little.
But it will be too late. They will already be grown. It’s just one of those things that you don’t understand until you know. And then you can’t un-know.
So while you are preparing your kids for it, don’t forget to prepare yourself for it too.
Teach Your Kids How To Be An Adult
No matter how many times we say ‘never grow up,’ they will. So on the way there, teach them everything you can.
- How to get a job and keep it – Being at work and getting paid means that you should be doing your best. Never sit around or goof off on someone else’s time. And when you are being paid, it is not your time. But make sure you enjoy what you do. We spend too many hours at work not to like it.
- How to file taxes – Save all your check stubs and receipts for anything you have to buy for work. And when you have to do it each year.
- How to do laundry, cook, and sew – If you can’t do these things on your own, there isn’t always going to be someone there to do it for you. Just because a button falls off a shirt you shouldn’t have to buy a new shirt. And when your underwear isn’t only good for one wear if you wash it.
- How to manage money – If you are making money, you should be saving money. Always have a budget and stick to it. Save as much as possible while you have fewer expenses. Then when you are older, you will have no need for credit cards because you’ll have cash.
Kids are not taught these skills at school. But without them, growing up is even harder. Too many people my age, myself included, are in debt because we didn’t know any better. Anyone can live off what they make from their job. You can always find ways to make more money if you need it. It’s just not always easy or convenient. But I don’t want my kids to need to work 2 or 3 jobs. I want them to know from an early age how to handle money so that they don’t have to go into debt to do things.
If I learned it the hard way, why should they have to too?
So this is my promise to my kids. I promise to do everything I can to keep them from making my mistakes. There are enough mistakes in the world, they can make their own.
I promise to do my best to prepare them for life as an adult. To teach them that they will fail. But that’s okay, we can’t all be good at everything.
I promise to do my best to make them better than me. Because all I want for them is to be happy and have less hardship than what I will experience in my life. For them to have the best life they can.
Most of all, I promise to let them stay little. To stay kids, as long as I can. Because they should get to enjoy it.
And even though it is inevitable, a part of me still hopes that they will never grow up.
PS. Check Out Fun Toys To Help Your Child Learn: Years 1-2+