The Cavalry Ain’t Coming!

I don’t want to misquote Chris Gardner, the man whose life story was told in “The Pursuit of Happyness,” the book and the movie.  But I heard him on NPR recently, and I can’t find the exact recording. 

Anyway, he was talking, I believe, about self-sufficiency, and how his mother, I believe, told him often that “the cavalry ain’t coming.”  To solve problems.  To fix everything. To take care of it all.  To pay the bills.

And I’m wishing, as I help my children launch into adulthood, that I had told them more often that “the cavalry ain’t coming.”  Or that I’d kept it from coming, in the guise of their parents, especially as it relates to finances.  I did a pretty good job on “actions have consequences” (in terms of letting school papers stay on the kitchen counter where they were left, or letting someone get cold if they didn’t want to wear a sweater).  I did not do a good job on teaching about money and the value of a dollar (or Euro) or enforcing delayed gratification.

I didn’t.  Simply didn’t.  Wish I had.  Don’t know where I went so wrong.  But I owe my kids apologies (and they have gotten them this week).

It’s hard to watch your kids leave home and to see what you, yourself, your very own self, did not do well in terms of parenting…and to fix as much of it as you can, on the fly, as they are running out the door to marriage, or foreign lands, or college.

And to know that growing up lasts a lifetime, and parents aren’t the only teachers, and we all do the best we can (well, mostly), and that lessons that should have been learned in childhood can be learned in adulthood (faster when under pressure, perhaps!)

Ah parenting… it’s harder than it looks.  And most days, the cavalry ain’t coming to help.

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~ by Cary on February 20, 2009.

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