I just completed six days off to celebrate my twin son and daughter graduating from high school. It feels like it’s been three weeks since I last worked, the six days jammed packed with such great family, friends, and food it felt a lot longer than it was. I guess when your heart, mind, and belly are so full you lose track of time.
We had family in from out-of-town that stayed with us to be here for my son and daughter’s prom, and graduation. We attended a pre-prom party at our friend’s house to take photos and catch up, followed by graduation and a weekend of parties, including our own to cap off the celebration.
What an amazing few days. When I finally sat down to reflect on the events over the last couple of days, one conversation stuck out. A number of the dad had gathered and were chatting it up, swapping stories on where their child was headed after high school.
One mentioned that the summer between high school and college was pinnacle time in someone’s life. This comment sparked a lot of feedback. Many agreed with the initial comment and added, you don’t have a care in the world during that time, no real responsibility yet. Or stress some other dad chimed in. A rent free roof over your head too, another commented.
I just listened as they when back and forth. Free dinner and clean laundry too. Then the original commenter dropped the hammer, and in two short months poof it’s over, and it all goes downhill from here.
Not necessarily I said. It all depends on what path you take, and you make of it.
Is Adulthood that Bleak?
Is that really what most of my son and daughter’s friends parent think about their lives? That, since they were seventeen or eighteen, it’s been on the decline?
Considering the average life expectancy in the United Stated is 79, that means they are in a middle of a sixty-one-year slide? That’s a little frightening. I hope none of our children overheard this conversation. It would give them little hope for their futures.
Now my wife and I certainly don’t buy into the notion that your life is in decline starting in the fall after your senior year in high school. Now matter what path you choose, college, military, work, trade school, etc. It’s really up to you and what you make of it.
Having come from an environment where conversations and real-life examples reflected this would be a great springboard to break that beaten, in decline mindset. At eighteen years old I want my kids to be thinking about the possibilities ahead of them, not that it’s a forgone conclusion that things are going to suck for the next sixty years.
I hope, and I have a pretty good feeling that these dads having this conversation don’t paint such a dreary picture when speaking with their kids, but still, a pretty horrible attitude to have for one’s own outlook on life.
Breaking the Cycle
Kids today, mine included are more plugged into events, news, media, etc. The walk around with smart devices that have the ability to look up any information and fact check anything you or anyone else says or tells them. If they don’t happen to have a device of their own, they know someone who does or can get access to one.
So I think we are very quickly getting away from children only following in their parent’s footsteps, or using their parent’s lives as their only example.
I don’t think by any means that us parents can throw in the towel and let social media or the internet raise our kids. We probably need to offer more guidance with the age of the internet and smart devices. It does, however, expand their horizons, get them exposure to good and bad things they might otherwise never have seen.
We need to get on board with the world our kids live in; it’s different from when were kids, we need to help guide them, not be so pessimistic, and let them know of the incredible possibilities ahead.
Giving them some financial tools from their early teens gives them an incredible boost. I was happy to hear from a few of the twins friends that the graduation books we gave away as gifts, one being the “Millionaire Next Door” was already being read. That give me hopes.
I’m excited to see where my three children go from here. One thing I know for sure this forty-something-year-old isn’t in decline. I’m just getting started.
What do you think, is there a pinnacle age, age-range in life? Are our lives in decline at a certain age?