“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” Robert F. Kennedy (Former United States Attorney General)
On January 20th, we saw the Inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States of America. Leading up to that point, there had been some comments from the 45th President that he wasn’t going to give up without a fight which made many fear that the ‘transfer of power’ would not be smooth. As it turned out, all was well. Far be it for me to make this a political post😊 but suffice it to say, the idea of transfer of power intrigued me.
I immediately thought of my kids. As with any family, there is a time when a child officially heads into adulthood. While there may not be a definitive age, I suppose around 18 years old would be about right. So, this week, my middle daughter, Kya, officially became a teenager. Straight up 13 going on 20! We had fun celebrating her birthday and I can’t help but do the math and realize I’ve got about 5 years with her until adulthood. The child-to-adult transition is inevitable, so the question I’ve been asking myself has been: “What steps am I taking to prepare her to be independent, confident and self-assured as she moves into adulthood?” There truly is a ‘transfer of power’ when she steps out from under the parental roof.
Well, one way is to start to allow her to make her own decisions. This is hard, because, as her dad, I’m always ready to course correct and use my ‘wisdom’ to help her process her decisions. There needs to be a point in time when I pull back, and allow her wisdom and thought process to win out. The more she’s empowered to think for herself, the better able she’ll be to conquer the world outside our home. The result may be disastrous and avoidable, but allowing her to fail and learn before she’s out on her own is far better than never having allowed her to fail at all. As Robert F. Kennedy points out, those who are too afraid to fail in the first place will never achieve anything great.
I want her to be strong and assertive, yet kind and humble. I want her to be open to other’s viewpoints, yet strong in her personal convictions. If I want her to possess these qualities outside our home, she’s going to have to learn these skills inside our home. Basically, she’s still in training, and I’m praying for wisdom and intentionality to teach these skills before adulthood.
What are some other ways to facilitate an efficient transfer of power with our kids?
- Remind them they were created on purpose for a purpose, and their unique ability and skillset was given to them by God for them to leave a positive mark on this world. When they step out, they’ll be confident in the purpose and unique ability they’ve been blessed with.
- Communicate our love for them regardless of what they do or don’t do.
- Listen more, talk less.
- Realize that they won’t do things our way, and that’s ok.
- Soften our tone.
- Pray for grace while guiding them.
- Be patient, and when we’re at the end of our rope, dig deeper.
- Remember our own uneven road to maturity.
- Don’t shame them.
And remember, they’re never too cool for a hug. And may you, gentle reader, always be intentional and mindful of the transfer of power you’re instilling into your own children. If you’re beyond the stage of having kids in the house, I’m hopeful you’re choosing to use your wisdom and experience by being a mentor and friend to the younger generation. Whether that be your grandchildren, neighborhood kid, or volunteering with an organization that serves our youth, we need you too! We’re in this together!