Years ago, while raising two teen boys of my own, a sermon preached by Dr. Bob Barnes encouraged my heart. He jokingly said that parents might not get a book on how to raise a child right, but “you’re only responsible for input, not output.”
That voice in my memory replayed one night at 3 am when my phone beeped and a long series of text messages followed from a life-long friend of mine. Her daughter, whom I watched her raise, had been arrested and put in jail.
She had done everything she could to be the right kind of parent and still — in these bleak circumstances — was determined to try to do whatever she could to help her kid.
This is more common than you think…
About a week ago, I heard from another friend of mine who had dished out nearly 10K to help their adult child through a tough divorce and custody battle.
In all of these situations, one thing became apparent, these parents made great choices but they never really let go of the reigns entirely.
Perhaps in the back of their child’s mind, mom or dad would always be there to save them. And, when the law got involved, they would only be able to help so much.
Society and rules had to step in to teach the ultimate truth of all, at the end of the day, you are responsible for your life choices, and if you make bad ones, you have to own up to the consequences, like it or not. Too bad there wasn’t some type of rule book out there that we all got a copy of when taking our babies home. Perhaps that would save all of us a lot of grief when going through teenage years or adulthood failures.
A book, The Formula: Unlocking the Secrets to Raising Highly Successful Children by Tatsha Robertson and MIT-trained economist, Ronald F. Ferguson studied the patterns of parents who raised geniuses, such as Albert Einstein.
They say that there is a pattern, and if parents follow it, that they will raise a child who is independent and able to handle complex life problems.
The formula evolves in the form of eight roles: The Early Learning Partner, the Flight Engineer, the Fixer, the Revealer, the Philosopher, the Model, the Negotiator and the GPS Navigational Voice. In each voice, the parent gives more and more responsibility to their child so that eventually, they are no longer in charge of their choices.
What these roles taught me, is that holding on and swooping in to save a kid, when they make terrible decisions, is just making room for more future failures. Perhaps, this book will help future parents not to be so hands-on with their guidance for too long, and learning to let their child fail earlier can be the ticket to adult successes