Just now, cruising Pinterest, I found a very interesting pin about teaching kids life skills at every age. This pin really has me thinking. While I try my best to give my kids the skills they need to go out into the world, I realize every day we can never teach them enough.
Some of these skills they will learn just by living them.
Two nights ago, my oldest was invited by a friend to walk into town after school, grab sandwiches and do some shopping. When my son came to me with this question, I froze. I told my son that I couldn't answer right away, and to tell his friend we would call back. My son has never walked anywhere without us. Just six months ago I would have said that he wouldn't walk into town until he's a teenager. I would have never even considered giving him this freedom.
In my twisted mommybrain my baby still looks like this. Would you let this walk into town?
But my baby doesn't look like this. He's in sixth grade. And town is down the street from school. After school kids can be found all over our town, walking home, eating and shopping. And I do watch from the car as he picks up and pays for our pizza. He is extremely responsible, a good kid. Why shouldn't I give him this freedom?
I wondered if he knew enough, and I started to think about all the life
skills I still hadn't taught him. But I have taught him about using
money, behaving in stores, and minding his manners. I took a leap of faith, and I told him to call back his friend and say he could go.
And then I hyperventilated for about three hours.
I called my mom, who reminded me that I walked all over town when I was in sixth grade. I do think I lived in a different era, but I also believe I handled my freedoms well.
And I knew my Sports Fanatic would do the same.
Yesterday morning, before he left for school, I went over every rule about crossing the street, using the "walk button," staying in view of people, doing only what he told me he was going to town to do, and behaving in stores. I rattled off more instructions than I ever have in about three minutes. While I know all my panic made him nervous, it also made him understand the magnitude of this situation.
I was trusting him. He could make or break this opportunity.
Yesterday afternoon, at 2:32 on the nose, he called from his friend's cell phone to let me know he was at Subway. I reminded him the time I was picking him up, and to please not get hit by a car.
At 4pm, I packed up the rest of my crew to retrieve my oldest from the basketball gym. When I went inside to get him, he was ready to go, patiently waiting. He got in the car, and handed me a bag. He told me that after his buying his sandwich, he only had a few dollars left. He used that money to buy me a brownie at a Cafe downtown.
Que the mommy tears.
Even better, he came home to me in one piece. With more life skills than I could have taught him.
Happy Thursday. Have faith everyone. Take that leap, because the world just might surprise you.
To read the life skills post, check out Busy Kids=Happy Mom.