Today I took my granddaughter out to lunch to celebrate her 15th birthday. As we ate, she tentatively mentioned her dream of owning a car by her 16th birthday. As we talked it through, I mentioned that she would also need to think about car insurance. “How much is that?” she asked, frowning. I told her what my car insurance costs. Her eyes widened. We then talked about her plans for earning and saving money. Sometime in all that I mentioned her college decisions, too.
Then, as an afterthought, I offered, “Remember that you’ll have to pay for your gas and any repairs you might need, too.”
She sighed and slumped against the back of the booth. In a very grown up voice she said, “Kids don’t realize how much there is to take care of in life. Five year-olds and ten-year-olds have no idea what’s like; they’d better enjoy their lives while they can!” We talked for a few more minutes as I chuckled inwardly. After I dropped her off, I giggled all the way home.
When I got home, I opened the mail and found this quote by John Rosenthal in an ad for a new magazine.
As we grow up, we put away our laughter and our silliness and our childish noises, the great sensory hilariousness of our young lives. We pick up a few notions about proper behavior, like what books to read and how to go about getting married and buying a home and being polite and having cocktail parties . . . and the next thing you know, the little child – who was an enormously alive sensory apparatus – is just another boring adult going to work in a seersucker suit with a brief case. (From Amazing Conversations)
I began wondering. How do we raise our children to be responsible adults without taking away the “hilariousness” of their spontaneous lives? How soon should they pile on the burden of becoming aware of all the issues they will face as they grow up: getting the college education, the car, the house and yard, the spouse, the two kids and the cat? How do we teach them to walk the line between faith that God will provide for them and the understanding that they will need to think through many issues and find solutions. How do we help save them from becoming one more boring adult going to work with a brief case?
I have a 9-year-old granddaughter who is still silly and hilarious and, for the most part, carefree. And now her sister is moving out of that world into the becoming an adult world. I hereby pledge to help them both (and their brother) keep a healthy balance between hilarity and responsibility!