When Sam got home from work last night, he said he was a little embarrassed by what happened. I told him everyone has locked their car keys inside their car from time to time. I’ve done it more than once. It’s easy to do.
Then I told him that Ms. D (his speech therapist in high school) suggested a hide-a-key.
He looked at me quizzically for about ten seconds, and then a huge grin broke out on his face. “Did you put something on Facebook?”
(I was so excited that he connected all those dots.) I put something on the blog, I told him, and then linked to Facebook.
“People learn from our experiences, Sam,” I said.
“I know,” he said.
He was skeptical about the hide-a-key option — he is his father’s son, that’s for sure — but then agreed we needed to get more information.
We decided we’d go see a locksmith and determine whether hide-a-key is an option. We also are going to learn about calling a locksmith when you’re locked out and other options.
What I’ve learned from this is how much we take for granted our children’s ability to solve problems when we send them out into an ever-more-complicated world. When our children are born, we marvel at their first words, first steps — but nature does all that. We parents don’t do a thing.
After doing a story about moms with HIV, I recognized that what parents owe their kids is a set of survival skills. Those moms with HIV knew their time was limited and the best give they could give their kids is the ability to stand on their own two feet. Before then, I did things for my kids out of convenience or a lack of consciousness. I saw that I could be crippling them for the long term and changed my ways.
The kids, by the way, didn’t always like it. They saw friends whose parents “did more” for them. Mark and I often got grief for that. (Michael thanked me last year, after helping several friends learn to do laundry. Big-time delayed gratification on my part, there.)
With Sam, I worry whether he has enough “generalized” problem-solving ability. I called my parents and asked for help those first years out of the house, and in my own apartment. Once they talked me through how to handle a simple repair or negotiations with a business, though, I could apply what I learned in other situations. I see Michael doing that now — in his second year out of the house and looking forward to his first year in an apartment.
Sam is doing that to a great degree, yet I still have this nagging sense that life can still throw him lots more curve balls than he’s prepared for.