Failure to Launch

As I read a Blog Post from Word On Fire, I shuddered. 

The Title, “To Put Aside Childish Things.”

All I could think was, I don’t want to be the type of parent whose kids, whose “Children,” need the results of the studies and/or assistance of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Transitions to Adulthood

I mean really?  If you’re 34 or the person you are interested in is 34 and still living at home with no independence in sight, there is something really wrong. 

I understand that many times, for cultural and economic reasons, one stays at home longer than the traditional 18 yrs. of age.  Or maybe reasonable 25-27 (To finish Grad School).  But, to initiate “an entity which views ‘the early years of adulthood, roughly age 18 to 34, as a neglected part of the life span that deserves close study'” (Word on Fire).  Is that not going a bit too far?

It reminds me of the movie “Failure to Launch.”  If you haven’t seen it, it is basically a film about a thirty-five year old male named Tripp (played by Matthew McConaughey).  He is attractive, drives a great car, sails, he’s witty, active, a great catch.  But, there is a catch, Tripp still lives with his parents.  And it is just too convenient for him on too many levels. 

Now, his parents no longer want him at home (Mom and Dad played by Kathy Bates and Terry Bradshaw, respectively.  BTW, Great scene of Bradshaw’s Behind ;)).  To help their son leave, they hire Paula (played by Sarah Jessica Parker), who is a Professional Motivator.  She assists parents in getting their sons to leave home.  She gets the men to Fall for her, and motivates them to move out.   

Not the best movie ever, but funny.  And in this context, Sad and Scary. 

Once you have read the Article “To Put Aside Childish Things.”  You will see that as Parents, that by being Wimps or as Fr. Mario calls us “Wimpified Parents”, we are not only hindering our Children’s Independence, but their Spiritual Growth as well. 

In the word Independence, there is so much implied.  By being overbearing, overinvolved, coddling, or simply frightened Parents, we really harm our kids.  How are they going to learn responsibility?  How are they going to learn to fend for themselves?  How are they going to develop that instinct that warns us and guides us in regards to who is trustworthy.  How are they going to think for themselves?  How will they ever make decisions for themselves?  How will they grow in their Faith if it is fed and imposed on them? 

As horrible and frightening as it is for us as Parents to see our Children suffer, no matter what the age, Suffering creates Character.  Suffering will only make them Stronger.  I realize it’s cliché.  But there is so much truth to these sayings. 

It is through suffering that we find not just who our true friends are, but we also find out that Family really and truly is there.  Or at worst And at  BEST, we find God.  We discover that we truly never are alone and that He is always there to comfort, console and protect us.  IF we let Him.

Let us not Cripple our Children.  We may think that we are protecting them, but in reality we are causing them so much harm.  The reality is that we will not always be there…and then what?  What will they do?  Do you really want to do that to them?  Do you want them to suffer needlessly and alone because you never gave them the tools…you never TRUSTED them enough to do it on their own? 

I have seen firsthand what this does to a Person. 

There is nothing more painful than to see a man unable to “man-up” because he doesn’t know how. 

There is nothing worse for an individual than to think that they have a Partner, only to realize that in reality, they are just another “Kid” that you have to take care of and help to “grow up.”

There is nothing more frustrating and angering than to see an “Adult” not take responsibility for their actions because they do not know how. They never have before and have no idea how to start.

There is nothing more humiliating for a Mother and Father than to see their Son not know how to be a “Real Man” for his family because you coddled him to such a degree that he doesn’t know how to Protect, Respect, Value or Appreciate.  He only knows Entitlement, Selfishness, and Lack of Responsibility.  The same goes for a Daughter who was so coddled that she knows nothing about Loving, Caring, or Self-Sacrifice.  **Let me add here that I am in no way trying to be SEXIST!  All of these Flaws and Qualities apply to BOTH Men and Women.  I just didn’t want it to seem that I was coming down Hard on the Male Counterparts**

There are too many people like this already.  And yes, they do range in ages and yes, mostly in the 18-34 yr. category. 

Let’s work on what we as Parents Strive for:

  • Giving Our Children Everything we didn’t Have. 
  • Making Everything Better for Them. 
  • Making Life as Wonderful, Beautiful and Enjoyable as it Can Be. 

But let’s do it in a way that won’t Harm them, Cripple them, or make them useless Human Beings. 

Let’s do it the Best Way Possible.  Providing them with all the Tools that they will need to Deal with the Real World.  Providing them with the Knowledge, Courage and Strength to Confront and Deal with Real Issues, Heartaches and Suffering. 

And if you Give them the Gift of Faith, Teach them about the Love of God, Teach them that Suffering isn’t useless, or Unnecessary, Explain to them about Purification through Suffering, Growth through Suffering, then they will know that all is not in vain.

Remember anything worthwhile is worth Working for, Fighting for, Suffering for.

2 thoughts on “Failure to Launch

Add yours

  1. Very good post. My best advice to my child, and the message that I hope will be the underlying theme of her life is “Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be”.
    Best wishes 🙂


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