A Case for Maturity
We love games around our house. Board games, card games, video games, and just about anything in between. But one game we played, got me thinking.
If you’ve heard about the game Cards Against Humanity, the same company has a game called Kids against Maturity. In the game you try to pick the ‘best’ answer to a given question.
For Example, ‘What is the meaning of life?’ Answer options are “Pee on the seat”, “Butt dialing”, and “Whoopee Cushions to name a few. The most absurd answer wins the round. Which results in a house full of belly laughs around here.
Now I am not knocking this game, but more pondering what this game reflects about our kids and culture.
What’s wrong with being mature and growing up?
Come fifty years ago, it wasn’t uncommon by the age of twenty-five to be married with at least one kid in tow. Not that marriage and being a parent are marks for maturity. But I think the expectations have changed, and I can’t say for the better.
In 1953, Disney released the animated film Peter Pan, based on J.M. Barrie’s 1904 play, which popularized the idea of never growing up. Disney’s version focused on the tragedy of growing up, while Barrie’s theme leans more toward how growth and change can be hard, but it is an necessary part of life. Peter’s choice to never grow up shows us how he also misses out on familial love.
While childhood should be cherished and children be given the freedom to explore their world and their imaginations. There is power and confidence that is taken away from a child that is not given responsibility and expectations.
If you compare kids from the 1920’s to now, every child in a home were expected to lend a hand around the house, earn money if possible, care for their siblings, if not other things. Here in 2020, the generalized theory is to let kids be kids with minimal expectations and a screen in hand.
But why do we call the young adults of the 20’s the Greatest Generation? It’s because they were willing to step up and lean into the hard things. They were willing to grow up too fast and serve their nation or their families.
I don’t want to idealize the people of the past, because we are all human and there is good and bad in all generations. But I write this to challenge myself and all parents to evaluate the goal of our parenting.
I can often get stuck in my desire from control, and 'I know best with less mess mentality' to not bring my kids in to the work and responsibility of life.
A lot of how I've had to tackle this battle inside is to set goals. Yep I said goals, again. (See 18 Summers and Set Up for Success) During Spring Break we had the unfortunate opportunity (story for another time) to be able to teach the kids to take apart and put together their beds, yes even the seven year old. And I will tell you it has been both freeing for me and empowering for my kids to tackle the battle of the fitted sheet.
With the success of that baton toss of responsibility I have turned to letting my kids make their own breakfasts and lunches. We are halfway through this experiment, and we are each getting a little better at making food decisions (Goldfish is not a breakfast food) and cleaning up messes.
Steps in the right direction. What do you do around your kids to instill a little maturity?