FEEDING THE FISH
Canggu, Bali, Indonesia
We complain a lot about the kids these days…
Expect everything to be done for them
It’s so easy to blame them, blame technology, blame how easy they have it… Bla Bla Bla…
But these are not the real problems that cause their laziness. The real problem is us.
Us ‘grown ups’ have all become so busy, so on the go, so addicted to wasting time on trash tv and phones that we don’t allow enough time or have the patience to teach our kids how to do all the things we learnt to do at their age.
We all know the saying “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for life”. Well, our generation of parenting couldn’t be fucked teaching our kids how to do just about anything we were all doing by the age of 5… clean up, dress themselves, organise their own lunch, many of our kids can’t handle some of the most basic of tasks, let alone fish.
Though we can’t be bothered teaching them, we also care too much to let them fend for themselves. We helicopter them. Our kids now don’t get the opportunity to learn from us or learn without us.
So many of us do the ‘ol “oh it’s easier if I just do it” and we get to work while they kick back on their iPads. When we get frustrated that we are still finding ourselves repeating these simple tasks we often then proceed to tell them off for being ignorant and lazy. They get annoyed back at us, they then begin to feel as though the task actually is too hard to achieve as they continue to not learn to fish, they rebel, they do less, you continue to do more for them.
Next minute they’re 20… they don’t know how to register for their university classes, they don’t know how to buy a bus ticket, they can’t book their own overseas Contiki trip, they can’t change a tyre, they don’t get it when others get frustrated with them, they’re still slothing in front of the PlayStation for hours while waiting for you to cook them dinner, they don’t know how to manage their money and they can’t cook anything except toasted cheese sandwiches.
Our bad, not theirs.
Funny thing is, they actually can manage all of these tasks and a whole lot more, if you just let them do it. Our kids have grown up having most things done for them because we either won’t teach them or won’t allow them the opportunity to teach themselves. Waiting a good 5 seconds for you to come to their rescue for every little challenge is their normal operating system. What else did you expect?
Kids learn a tonne of problem solving skills when we are not around… in school, at work.
Just look at them in their part time jobs where they have to do things themselves, they’re thriving. Yet we’re still making them a special meal at home exact to their liking, different to your meal, because we aren’t giving them the same environment to be independent in.
We are their cushy little comfort zone, which is okay. We want our kids to feel safe and at home with us, but not to the detriment of their own independence.
Let your kids fail, let them learn from their mistakes, and when it’s your opportunity to teach them something, be patient and be persistent. Because once they’ve got that skill, they’ve got it for life. As tough as the learning process can be, it’s a whole easier than having a 30 year old baby living at your house.