This famous line comes from many seminars and audio programs I’ve heard done by personal development expert/ author/ speaker Denis Waitley. He uses it in regards to two aspects you need to place within the journey from childhood to adulthood for your children. My wife and I believe wholeheartedly in these concepts, giving our daughters roots to belong within our family and our community and establish traditions that hopefully they will want to pass on to their children. When it comes to wings, we know that as they get older you have to give children the skills to make more decisions and choices on their own and allow them to fly with wings to develop their own healthy, productive lives.
It’s very difficult in a society that seems to be promoting a luxurious, gotta have it lifestyle to keep your children reigned in without feeling like they don’t have all of their material needs met. Every month you get advertising messages coming at you from all angles- billboards, commercials, social media programs, cell phones, etc. – and you want to provide what you can while also teaching them the art of working hard for a lot of what you desire. What good is it to be handed everything, not take responsibility or care for what you get, and then demand that mom or dad take their money and buy you a new item right away when you feel you want it?
That’s why even though our children have some of the extra things that I didn’t have as a child, I will remind them that you need to be real, respectful and responsible for what you have. Texting is not a right, we can survive without the internet and trust me, I lived just fine without an Ipod or my Wii in the 1970’s and 1980’s. I do enjoy a lot of the technology conveniences of today, but I want to make sure my children know that they can unplug and be with humans for a day or even a week and their lives will go on just fine.
I’m happy that they look forward to particular traditions- be it birthdays, holidays or other little things that we do as a family. We will break out a spontaneous game night and have all kinds of special snacks as prizes. We like to ask questions that make them think about their lives and the world around them during supper times. We’ve helped them acclimate to a world that may have been rough for them to navigate years ago.
Will I be sad when both are ready to move into their own homes? Certainly- I think it’s natural for every parent to have a bit of sadness regarding the empty nest that occurs. I know now though my job is to give them all of the skills and tools necessary to be healthy, productive and contributing members of society. We often want our children to stay a certain way at a certain age- but I’m confident that when they are ready to fly, they’ll know that they always have two people who they can come to if they feel like they need an ear for listening, a heart for love and support and eyes to look at them and admire how they’ve grown into wonderful human beings.
Denis Waitley is correct- if you focus on loot and things, you’ve got to re-focus on the non-material aspects that matter the most to have a good life. Take care of yourself and each other, have a wonderful day!