Monday, July 30, 2018

A Patrick Murphy Quote And Mama Bird Put Things Into Perspective For Me

Earlier this year, I retired from certain services. One of those services was providing Independent Living tutoring. If you're new to this blog, you can read about why I retired here and here. It's been almost 6 months since I made it public that I was retiring from providing that service. Throughout that time, I've received a few dozen emails and private messages from parents of teens and young adults. Most are from the parents who have hired me in the past. Some are parents who are hoping that I will reconsider my retirement from Independent Living Tutoring.

After much thought, nope. Not going to happen. Those days are done and over with.

Prior to making my final decision, I had teetered on that fine line of giving my curriculum a complete makeover. I thought about offering hardcore independent living tutoring. Because times have changed since the first time I spoke to my first class of teens and young adults over a decade ago.

Between then and now, I have witnessed situations and received a few emails from parents of former Independent Living students asking for advice. Both have convinced me that opening the door to offering that service again would bring a world of stress into my life.

Intertwining those situations and emails, 2 things happened that greatly influenced my final decision to bolt the doors of Independent Living tutoring shut.

The first was stumbling on a quote from Patrick Murphy.

"Uncoachable kids become unemployable adults. Let your kids get used to someone being tough on them. It's life. Get over it."

The second was being in our home office and looking up at just the right time.

I have a window directly across from my desk. I can see a portion of our front porch and some of the bird feeders. Also in clear view is the birdhouse that hangs on our front porch.

In late spring we had a family residing in there. Mama. Papa. Baby birds. They cleared out. Then, another family moved in. More baby birds.

Lisa and I have sat out on the front porch numerous times watching the Mama feed the babies. We've marveled at her hard work and each day, the babies getting a wee bit bigger and braver. Then, there's the day when there are no more babies. They've left the nest.

Up until recently, neither one of us had witnessed that moment.

A few weeks ago, I was working on a blog column. I happened to look up. Mama was gently pushing her youngins onto the ledge of the birdhouse. For the next half hour, I watched Mama as she patiently guided her young in taking flight.

It was rather incredible to watch the entire process.

Both the meme and watching Mama bird put things into perspective for me.

I know the meme was geared towards sports. Patrick Murphy coaches softball. But, his quote can be applied all the way around.

It made me realize that the majority of the stress wasn't from the teens and youth. It derived from the parents. These are the parents who failed to coach their teens and youth and expected 2-4 hours of weekly Independent Living tutoring to compensate for their shortcomings.

It doesn't work like that. 

I can teach your youth to cook, balance a checkbook, apply for jobs, get through an interview, adapt to a multitude of social situations, plan weekly menus, budget, pay bills, time management, etc. However, if the parents are not willing participants, it's a big ol' waste of my time and your money.

And, by willing participants, I mean having strict expectations at home, teaching your youth household responsibility, standing firm with restrictions and discipline if they don't adhere to the rules and expectations, not allowing them to sit around and do nothing, encouraging them to get a job once they're 16, making them earn the extras like internet, digital devices, and the extras in life, etc.

Yes, times have changed. I can't imagine raising a kid in this day and age. But, in gathering all of my experience, I have learned that some parents lack in the area of coaching their kids to become productive and responsible teens and youth.

This is why 20-year-olds still living at home are ripping up chore sheets and are unemployed. This is why 19-year-olds are spending their days on their phone and playing video games while the parent/s is working and still supporting them. They have no job. They're not continuing their education. They have zero ambition.

Meanwhile, the parents are either making excuses or and/or sending me emails asking for advice. At this point, seriously? How do you want me to respond to that? 

As ridiculous as it may sound, Mama bird taught me something too. She busted her lil' feathery butt day after day after day. She took care of her babies. Kept the nest clean and her babies fed. They thrived. But, when it was time to go out into the world, extend their wings, and be independent, that was it. She didn't abandon them, but she certainly refused to allow them back into their safety zone.

So, yeah. I'm done. It pangs my heart to say that. In all honesty, I thoroughly enjoyed working with a lot of the teens and youth. They're fun and interesting and I learned a lot from them too. I became friends with some of their parents. To this day, they continue to share the success stories.

Sadly, it was the teens and youth who gave me grief time and time again. The ones who only did what they wanted, when they wanted. Sometimes, they failed to show up. It was the parents of these teens and youth who threw up their hands or made one excuse after the other.

I'm not getting any younger. I'll be 45 this year. I don't have the time or energy to waste on those who can't be bothered. Who are not determined and motivated. Who are not willing to coach or be coached.

That door is closed.

No comments:

Post a Comment