Friday, April 13, 2007

Stepping towards Independence

Our youngest is in the Windy City this weekend - without us! At 15 years old he got on an airplane with 40 of his closest friends and 8 chaperones to compete in a choral competition in Chicago.

The jury is still out about how well he handled himself out there (we'll know in 2 more days), but he made a great start.

He packed on his own the night before.

He made himself a written checklist of what not to forget in the morning.

He got himself up at 4:00 a.m. to be at school by 5:00 a.m. to leave for the airport.

He remembered his cell phone charger.

He remembered his asthma inhaler.

He remembered to check his luggage tags for the correct address (we've recently moved).

And off he went.

Our kids are seasoned travelers. We've trained them over the years how to do this on their own. After all, that is the goal - that they will be able to take care of themselves. As parents we need to work ourselves out of a job.

Here's the progression we use to train our kids to stand on their own:

1. Show them how it's done - model it for them (i.e. I used to pack FOR him).

2. Do it with them - guide them through it (i.e. I packed WITH him).

3. Watch them do it - supervise them as they do it on their own (i.e. I watched HIM pack).

4. Let them do it themselves - independence! (i.e. HE PACKED ON HIS OWN).

Does this mean he didn't forget anything? Probably not. I always forget something when I pack, why wouldn't he?

Does this mean he's ready to go out into the big, bad world? Not yet, but he's well on his way.

I can't wait for him to step off that plane in Tampa on Sunday though and into my arms. He may be 6 ft. tall and 200 lbs., but he's still my baby!