The Road to Interdependence

Jul 5, 2015

Relationships are complicated, and interesting all the same. It seems when interacting with others, we dance between periods of dependence [I need you] and independence [I need to do this myself, so step away]. Of course, our ultimate goal is one of interdependence [I can do this myself, but would like to work with you]. In my opinion, the dependent-independent dance is most readily observed in toddlers and teens, though the latter can struggle to find a good balance well into the 20-something years.

This past week, our family had our annual vacation in Galveston. The weather was beautiful, but we did have one short, torrential rainfall. While walking on the beach afterwards, we came across a turtle [I immediately named Bubba]. He appeared to be confused, wandering up and down the beach, into the water, then out. After consulting with my son, the fish expert, I learned Bubba was not a salt-water turtle, and thus, was lost. We smiled knowing this little independent turtle probably had quite a journey to the beach during the storm. Of course, Matthieu relocated him back to the canal behind our rental home.

Bubba reminded me how differently each of my children are handling their own journey towards interdependence at this stage in their lives. Matthieu told me in the fall that aside from short summer stays, he would probably not live at home again. Though a bit unsure, I’m thinking Micah can’t wait to leave for college. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Marc Daniel is very emphatic in letting us know he has no plans to ever leave home, or his bedroom for that matter. And then there is Max, who equally declares his need for independence and child-like dependence, all in the same breath.

As a parent, I love watching my children on their journey, but I have to continually fight my urge to intervene and control outcomes. I justify my interference by telling myself, “they need me,” when in reality I am sure what they need is for me to be present, with less direct interference. The journey may be rough, but if we have a healthy relationship with our children, based on trust, they will let us know one way or another when they need our support. Or at least that is the wisdom afforded to me by a little lost turtle named Bubba.

bubba

Beyond Poor Choices

I know I’m stating the obvious, but changing behavior can be difficult.  Want to start off on the right foot when faced with this challenge?  A critical first step in dealing with inappropriate behaviors is determining which are the result of poor...

Generalizing to Extremes

As I lay awake last night staring at the ceiling, it was clear to me that my original idea for this week’s post would have to wait.  Given the incident that occurred at yesterday’s presidential rally, I believe there is a bigger issue to address. I’ve been...

The Concerning Colorful Spectrum of Language

Though actions may speak louder than words, we best not underestimate how language modeling shapes the behavior of the children we are collectively raising.  I guess it’s a hazard of my profession, but I regularly see and hear the world through the eyes and ears of...

Teacher Dads

Dads, today I celebrate you as teachers.  In fact, I believe it is one of your most important roles.  Fathers are always teaching, continually by example, and most of the time without even knowing they are doing so.  In this regard, I have seen some masterful work.  I...

Predictable Routines Needed

“The only person who likes change is a wet baby.” This quote from Mark Twain seems appropriate given the changes occurring in homes as another school year ends. Parents, we’re lucky. Our kids have had nine months of consistency thanks to the hard work of teachers. We...

One Chapter at a Time

Relieved. Happy. Discouraged.  Exhausted. These were some of the adjectives teachers mentioned when asked how they were feeling about the school year ending.  Although the responses varied, all teachers agreed - they were ready to have some closure with their...

Surrogate Teacher Moms

“Do you have any kids?” I once asked a teacher friend. “Absolutely,” she said. “I have a classroom full of them.” I laughed and walked away, but that thought stuck with me. Let’s face it - some of the best mothers in our lives weren’t our mothers, in the biological...

Get Physical

I’ve done a great deal of yard work over the past few weeks and have been reminded of an important behavior strategy. It’s one I don’t talk about nearly enough, given its effectiveness. Of course, with most people’s busy schedule it’s also hard to come by. The...

Look for the Foundation

Did you know that behaviors have a build-up effect over time?  Most teachers do.  And although there is an ebb and flow pattern to the behaviors of students, we see them all at the tail end of the school year – the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Fortunately, we have...

Coming Together

So I’ve been thinking about this post all week.  Though the original inspiration hit me in the middle of the eclipse last Monday, it was driven home again yesterday.  (Being a spiritual man, I believe sometimes God circles back around and gives me reminders – to make...