“I was raising adults from the time my kids were four,” said a long-time Seattle-area friend. I asked what raising adults meant. He and his wife went on to say that they raised their children to be capable adults, such that when they went off to college, the expectation was set: “we love you, you are adults now. You are welcome to come back for visits any time.”
This “raising adults” concept struck a chord. I had never labelled my own step-child-raising as adult-raising. However, I realize that I did provide opportunities for her to learn all of the skills she needs to be an adult. I also realized that becoming an empty-nester took on a new celebratory note “I’ve raised an adult!”
In the spirit of empty-nesting and regrouping after a child’s leaving the nest, I have added pillows and wall-hangings that create a new sense of space and home. I have removed, and saved, pictures and drawings of her childhood. Rather than staying stuck in the past, living spaces now seem more adult friendly and future focused. Children of course are still welcome – there’s plenty to do when visiting here.
Raising adults is about what we teach children. Raising adults is not about what they get exposed to at school and through the media in all its forms and availabilities. Raising adults matters more now than ever. We live in a world that demands capable communication, in a world that needs positive problem solving that serves a greater purpose than self-service and in a world full of moment-by-moment negative noise from all directions.
Many of us have met adults who are still stuck – emotionally and mentally – in their teen years. If only they had been raised to become an adult; or, if only they had chosen to become adults.
Did you raise adults? Where are you in the process now?
“Enjoy the journey” as the saying goes!
Note: This Jana Kemp post first appeared online March 6, 2019.