Here’s the “to be continued” from a mom in Florida who did all that she got to see up close and personal what can happen when we keep our hands off. This is what she wrote me:

I feel like we should start this like an AA session and I could introduce myself and say “Hi I’m Josette, and I over-parent and my kids are unfulfilled and have entitlement issues”.  I came up to you after your talk and mentioned I had wanted to jump up out of my seat and yell “Heck Yea” or something less proper.

My 2nd grader, Joey, had this mandatory social studies project–the Orange County Bar Association had a Law-Poster contest for all the local schools. The theme given was “Realizing the Dream: Equality for All”.  They had a month to complete the project.  I kept procrastinating and would deflect Joey’s pleas for help in getting started mostly because I work best under pressure (notice the word I).

Then on a rainy Wednesday morning, the clouds dispersed and I too could see the light!! [The topic of grooming entitlement] had me at the edge of my seat.  I heard you loud and clear, all while getting to laugh at the same time!  You spoke of over-parenting and how we are raising unfulfilled/entitled kids since we are over-involved and do everything for these little rascals. 

When Joey came home that Wednesday afternoon, I was a new mom.  He once again shoved that blank white poster in my face and after a brief 101 lecture on equality (another story for another day), he says “mommy I want glitter, I want photos, I want eyeglasses in the poster, I want googly eyes (perhaps the eye theme came from his momma being an optometrist).  I told Joey I would help him get started & I began to print some photos.  After seeing the photos, I started to have that over-parenting URGE because NOW I could see where I wanted to go with this darn poster.  I knew what photos I wanted and exactly where I would place them.  I wanted perfect hole-punches for the glasses to go through. Glitter and Googly eyes were not allowed.  But I STOPPED.  I heard to “let him do it” word.  I watched in horror as Joey knifed several improper & uneven holes for the cheap eyeglasses.  He started to choose the “wrong” photos and he glued them in the “wrong” places, but the worst offense was the glitter–why the glitter balls?  And the glitter mess?! 

When that kid was done, he was so proud.  We turned it in and thought nothing more of it until we received the congratulatory voice mail from the Orange County Bar Association that Joey had won first place!  The next day, I had to return this woman’s voice mail to RSVP for the award luncheon.

After asking this woman if she had a minute, I proceeded to tell her that Joey had listened to her voice mail nearly 20 times, I told her how much this meant to Joey & how he needed this victory since he was struggling in school.  I told her about hearing you share your story.  I told her how the idea changed my life.  She wanted to hear more.  At the end she mentioned they had received many amazing parent-crafted law posters but that the judges recognized that a child had actually been involved with this particular project.

“Through the eyes of an 8 year old, the Dream is Real”-was the theme of Joey’s project. I may have come up with the actual words, but only after his response during my equality tutorial in which he said “but there is equality here and that’s why Gigi and Papa came from Cuba”-

So it’s been over 2 weeks since we heard the news of his winning and this boy is different.  He has more confidence with school work and is happier. He knows he won this thing and the fulfillment in his soul is evident.  We attended the award luncheon last week and he was delighted with the special treatment.  He even won $125.

Okay … so the judges picked the project that was clearly 100% kid. I love that. And I love the fact that folks really want to celebrated and encourage kids’ efforts. I think we’re all willing to do that. It’s one of the reasons we stop at almost every lemonade stand or listen to a high school/college kids selling Cutco knives (granted don’t need another knife, but I’ll still listen to the schpeal). It’s why we go out of our way to encourage the kid bagging groceries.

So here’s a HUGE shout-out to that group of judges and to every place of business that looks for ways to celebrate and encourage the efforts of young people. THANK YOU!!! These kids have so much to offer … and just might learn a little about work along the way.

Thank you Lisa for “hiring” Barton (age 12) for the summer to help in your office. Few things have warmed my heart like seeing this kid get herself up every morning, make her own breakfast, learn how to dress properly in an office, figure out her own schedule, … I could go on. And she’s learning how an office works. An office where deals occur – some of them exciting, I’m sure – and work is done. Work that often falls in the mundane category.

“What did you do?” asks younger sibling when we pick up Barton from the tall office building. No need to note that I might have been an hour late. Which was nothing compared to the two hours late the day before (eek! … We were stuck at the Laundromat.)

“Filed.” Barton replied.

“You did that yesterday.”

“I know.”

“Is it fun?”

“Not the stuff I did today… But some of it I like.”

“What will you get to do tomorrow?”

“File. … I did get to organize one of the cubicles today, too.”

“Sounds boring.”

“I don’t care. It’s better than watching t.v. all day. And I might get to buy the glasses I really want…. or save for a car.”

I sigh, lost in the complete bliss of my child learning about and embracing life. Thankful again for Lisa. Because of experiences like this, I don’t think Barton will be caught off guard when her first job starts at the bottom. Just sayin’.

Kid Working

A beautiful sight

Teen Sleeping

Another sweet sight. Summer slumber. At least until their stuff starts next week. Hey, it worked when they were babies :)

Thanks for walking the road with me.


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