A few years ago, I watched a movie entitled Failure to Launch, starring Sara Jessica Parker and Matthew McConaughey. In this movie, a therapist (Sara) assisted parents whose sons refused to leave home, to put them on a path of independence. Matthew’s character, one of these thirty-something men, spoiled by his mother (Kathy Bates) his entire life. He never felt the need to move out on his own. It was a comedy, so Sara resorted to some crazy shenanigans to successfully, unbeknownst to these him, boot him out of his parent’s basement.
Recently, I had an interesting conversation with a friend, the author of the amazing book, “A Broken Heart Made Whole”, Minister Stevetta Temple. We talked about how we as mothers, tend to be easier on our boys than our girls. She is a mother of seven, and I am a mother of two. She made me really think about my relationship with my son. When it comes to motherhood, we don’t tend to correlate parenting to mortality. But in reality, as she pointed out, our adult children should be able to survive successfully on their own if, unfortunately, something were to happen to us.
At this very moment, I must admit that I worry if both of my children would be complete successes in their lives if I were to, Heaven forbid, pass away. Not because they are incapable, but because, one, I believe Knowledge is power, and they both dropped out of college. Two, they never had an ideal relationship with their father. Three, his absence left a void in them and an inability to reach out to others. Four, the effects of my secluded childhood trickled down onto them.
I always encouraged them to figure out their passion in life and go after it. I never want them to live paycheck to paycheck stuck in a job they hate instead of being successful in a career they love. My daughter was a pretty cheerleader and in color guard in high school. Popularity followed her. Now, she is married with one child and has aspirations of becoming an esthetician. Hopefully, she will return to the University of Alabama for a degree.
My son was the complete opposite. He was bullied in school, has social anxiety and does not like to be around people at all. He’s had one job while in high school but has preferred to work at home with his sick uncle for the past two years. He hated high school and did not enjoy his brief time at the University of Alabama. He aspires to be a writer. He has talents in writing incredible short stories, gaming, computer programming, creating cell phone apps, IT, and computer technology.
I’ve coddled him his entire life because I felt, as my son without his father in his life, he needed the extra attention. I was sick during their childhood and tried desperately to make up for missing out on physical activities with them. I didn’t realize until he was grown that I could and did mold him into a loving, kind, courteous individual but the things he needed to possess inside to become a man, I could not give him. I feel that piece of him is still missing and he will struggle his whole life trying to fill that void.
He suffers from depression and his constant state of sadness, saddens me. When he was younger, I took him to therapy or got him the things he enjoyed, such as game systems to put joy in his heart. But now, I don’t know how to help him. I don’t know how to reach him anymore. Because he doesn’t go to school or work, it’s easy for people on the outside looking in to say, “Put him out!” It’s easy to say give him an ultimatum; work or go to school in a month.
But my son is not a street kid. He may surprise me, but my fear is if I put him out, I’ll be burying my son within a year due to suicide, something he has tried twice in his young twenty-two years. Just like with my daughter, his life, his success, his dreams are important to me. I pray over my children, maybe not as much as I should, but I will increase so they can increase. He just needs one person to believe in him and I believe!
But, I can’t help but give Minister Temples words much thought. Where would they be if I were gone tomorrow? With my daughter married, I worry less about her and I know she will do what is best for her life. With my son, his state of mind makes him different. I have to be careful with him. So, do I encourage him, guide him, listen to him, and love him as long as it takes for him to become independent on his own or chance cracking his foundation and destroying our relationship to force him to be independent. What would you do?
I thought that I had to feel comfortable about where my young adults were in life. But as hard as it is to admit, it’s not about me. I can’t live their lives, nor make or correct their mistakes for them. I have to stay prayed up and believe that my small village and I raised smart, good-hearted people who will do well in life. Besides, it’s not necessary for both to fly at the same time or in the same direction. Their wings work, and eventually, they will soar.
Pray. Love. Teach. Guide. Believe.
Thanks for reading,
#failuretolaunch #protectyourbabies #StevettaTemple #ABrokenHeartMadeWhole
Read Stevetta Temples Book “A Broken Heart Made Whole” on Amazon or contact her on Facebook @StevettaTemple.