|Your Friendly Momma Substitute|
I was a more mature 25 than most of the 18 year olds at Ft. Leonard Wood's Basic Training when a Drill Sargeant from Philly screamed at a group of us waiting for a truck. It was a lecture born of frustration with the things that happen when kids leave home for the first time and expect mom to be there to clean up after and anticipate their every need. I happened to be in the same group--and got the same verbal blast.
"IZ-UPPA-2-U!" he began and ended his Philly flavored diatribe. "U-GOTTA-Take-RSPNSIB-ILITY fer ur OWN LIFE from here on out. Yo' Mamma ain't beside you anymore! Those apron strings have been slashed! Whaddayagonnado out there on the front lines--turn around and ask for clean shorts when you take enemy fire for the first time. Hey, if you don't carry dem witchya--nobody else is gonna!
Military counseling is as brutal as the slaughter of the English Language used to do it.
Grampas may be called upon to help facilitate a transition--for a young father or tender new Mom--or more likely a high school age buddy he's watched grow up since he was a pup. The story of the Drill Sargeant might be an interesting way to bring the subject up.
In time of war, they say, the more you sweat in peace the less you bleed on the front lines. Pray God we don't ever have to involve one of your near and dear on foreign shores---by the time yours grow up Afganastan will be a distant memory and Iraq will be handling it's own security and government.
Emptying the trash without having to be told sometimes escalates to the moral equivalent of War in some mother's minds. I chuckled at a friend recently. She has three at home from 12 to College age--with a girl in the middle--and she marvels at how all three of them can pass an overflowing can of trash without stopping to take some responsibility.
Wise parents like Chris and Ellen have been encouraging little chores and jobs and duties for a coin or two since their kids could walk. This otherwise terrific mom couldn't bring herself to start a Jobs and Duty Chart--or a rotating chore spinner. "They'll never do it, she whined.
With that attitude, of course, they never will. She called me the other day with an amazed tone--her youngest finally got sick of the ants and the stink--and after making a big deal about it with his brother and sister--he yanked the bag out of the can--tied it off with a jerk and heaved it outside into the trash. He took some responsibility.
My friend, Psychologist Lee counseled us to make the duty clear, get an agreement (even write up a little contract) and then just leave the trash to smell and draw bugs. CONSEQUENCES was his mantra...and he hummed it often. Most moms will just roll their eyes and throw up their hands--and empty the crummy thing themselves, but they do their offspring no favors.
Tough love demands CONSEQUENCES in the young before they leave home and discover them biting them in the bottom in the REAL WORLD. If things get dicey after a contract is signed, he suggests you put the rotting can in the middle of the kid's bedroom and stand back for the explosion. Stand your ground. My loving mother stumbled on that principle neglecting the can accidentally on purpose.
Training when they're young will hopefully save them from a frustrated Drill Sargeant screaming inches from their faces--or worse depending on someone else to take responsibility in a front line situation until it is too late.: IZUPPA2U!!! JWC.