About a year ago, I read Escaping the Endless Adolescence, a wonderful book that deals with the issue of young adults and their lack of maturity. Having two adolescents in my home made this particularly pertinent for me. This week, I’ve seen the authors’ thesis played out in front of me. Basically, the authors point out that teenagers are not maturing as we would expect them to because they are given very little real challenge in their lives. How can this be, when they are taking AP classes, playing sports, and generally being very busy? Teens are having trouble connecting much of what they do with “real life”, so they feel like they are (and, in many cases, really are) living in a bubble. Many adolescents spend most of their time around other adolescents. They go to school, practice sports or music, and maybe even have a job, but they have a hard time connecting it to their anticipated adult life. Yes, their grades are important, but college stands between them and “a real job” in many cases. The authors point out that teens quite often “step up to the plate” when given adult responsibilities with appropriate feedback.
So, how does this relate to my life? In the last week, The Knitting Nest started getting our yarn and other product shipments. Earlier this week, Wild Man helped PWM inventory and price a bunch of the yarn as well as put together the wire display cubes and putting the yarn in the cubes. You can tell that it’s Wild Man’s work because the yarn balls are all lined up nice and straight. Yes, he likes order. Rosie Girl spent all day today working with PWM to price and display more of the yarn. (And they’re not done!) Both kids have been very proud of their work in the shop during the last few days. Wild Man was sick last week and watched more TV than anyone should watch, but he didn’t seem to miss his daily dose of Disney Channel this week. The kids have been paid with drinks from the local coffee shop; clearly, it’s not money that’s motivating them. They enjoy seeing that their effort is important. All the yarn that they price is yarn that PWM and I don’t have to price.
One of the reasons that we teach our kids at home is because we don’t think that a school environment where kids are with their peers all day every day is the best thing for them. We want them to be comfortable with people of all ages. We also want them to learn to work. We’ve been deliberate about giving them work to do here at home, including their own laundry. Wild Man works at the Senior Nutrition Site helping to get Meals on Wheels ready as well as being one of the helpers in children’s church. Rosie Girl works with our Worship Arts Director, helping with paperwork and making chord sheets. It really seems that home education works in our favor in this case.
I have no idea how my kids are going to “turn out” – that’s largely between them and God. However, based on what I’ve been reading and how I’ve seen my kids interact with the world, I’m pretty optimistic.