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in: A Man's Life, Sunday Firesides

February 9, 2019

Sunday Firesides: Don’t Surrender the Privilege of Adulthood to Your Kids

When you’re growing up, you don’t have much responsibility and the livin’s easy. The only drawback of youth is that, as a dependent, you can’t make all of your own choices.

As an adult, you’ve got a lot of burdensome responsibility. But, this responsibility is leavened with the privilege of complete autonomy. You make all your own decisions, call all your own shots.

Strangely, as soon as many adults mount this throne, they abdicate their sovereignty . . . to their children.

Too many conversations with parents these days sound like this: “I haven’t been keeping up with that podcast because my kids want to listen to a show they like when we’re driving.” “I can’t come to the party tonight, because Harper wanted to do a sleepover with her friend.” “I’m not sure where we’re going on vacation this year; we need to talk to the kids.” “We can’t go to that restaurant anymore; the kids don’t like it.”

Now of course a parent sometimes makes decisions based on what their children need, and even just want to do, but in general, adults should be deciding what they want to do, and the kids have to come along. Otherwise, growing up means having all of the responsibility and none of the fun of royal autonomy. And that’s a recipe for a miserable adulthood.

When our kids say, “We don’t want to listen to this song,” or “We don’t want to go to this museum,” we say, “Someday, when you’re a grown-up, you’ll get to choose whatever music you want to listen to and decide wherever you want to go.”

When you maintain the great privilege of adulthood, you’ll not only enjoy it more, your kids will actually have something to look forward to when it comes to growing up.

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