gratitude-a-thon day 267: parental intuition

jake in london, striking a silly pose.

Jake went to London this weekend to see a friend. On the way home, he miscalculated, got lost and missed his plane. What ensued were frantic texts, a slew of self-deprecation, and a land mass of total frustration about doing something wrong that he should have been able to do right.

My feeling about these sorts of things is simply this: if there’s no threat of death, you’ve got all your limbs and shopping bags, and you can right your course, learn a lesson about how to do things better the next time, relax, and make a plan.

I’m grateful for somehow knowing when to let Jake make his mistakes and when to intervene. I didn’t think I had that in me. I imagined that I would always do whatever was necessary, come hell or high water, to fight my boy’s battles and challenges, like when he was 5. Turns out there is some internal parent thing that lets you know when you should get up in there, and when you have to let your kid figure it out by themselves. This is called learning. And I do believe it was a lesson for me, that he is capable and can figure out what to do (by the way, I didn’t jump ship, I calmly texted with him to make sure he understood that this was not an emergency landing and just an easy mishap to fix), and a lesson for him, that he should leave earlier for a flight to give himself time to get lost. This kind of stuff has happened a few times since he’s been in Barcelona. And each time, I’ve reacted with concern, but a certain distance. This is how kids, hell, how all of us, learn. We’re given the space to do so.

Like so many parents I know, I can be accused of having done too much for my kids. I’m grateful for knowing when enough is enough, though. That’s when real learning happens. You get an A on this one, Jake.

4 thoughts on “gratitude-a-thon day 267: parental intuition

  1. Wow, another adventure in the “learned” column. I take it he is safe and sound?? Julie

    Julie Leitman Senior Northeastern Regional Director, Academic Programs International (API)

    +1(617)730-5894 (New England Office) +1-617-510-1209 (Mobile) +1.800.844.4124 (Toll Free-Texas Office) College Study Abroad: Intern, Teach, Volunteer, Work Abroad: High School and Gap Year Study Abroad:

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