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  • cynthiafoustvenner

Buffers and Bumpers?

I recently made an observation, but then again, what's new?

I offered the opportunity to my children to spend time with me in the form of bowling, because contrary to their popular beliefs, I do love them and WANT to spend time with them.


My youngest,the only one who currently identifies as my child, agreed to join the fun.

If the man in me doesn't play on loop in your head when you hear the word bowling, you did not watch the Big Lebowski and need to do so immediately.

I digress.

My son rebuffed the offer.

So I offered up an alternative that I was sure he wouldn't want over the chance to practice smack talk against his mama.

Yeah, that kid would rather mow the lawn than hang out with his mom.

I know teenagers are tough, but stop, really?!?

Don't mind me, I will be playing in traffic.

I feel like I should start to research how buy a white van and some candy to have my kids pay attention to me.


Anyways, after that long winded opening is what I really wanted to say is:

While bowling, I observed that we need for our kids to know, and to learn, that life isn't always going to be comfortable or convenient.

We need to allow room for them to feel their foul ups.

(Which I do, conversely since I am a witness to a bunch of my own.)

We need to let kids FEEL sad,and disappointed.

Make the knowledge available to them to understand that life is hard.

Hey, wanna do one better?

Let them know that life doesn't come without its fair share of bruises and scrapes, or in my case, broken bones.

But we must authorize ourselves to allow for the next generation to feel these trials and tribulations.

What we need is from time to time, is to be shown our place, and sometimes, suck down the reality that it may not always be where we want it to be, or even believe it should be.

And, we need to be able to swallow that piece of humble pie.

So where are these thoughts coming from?

Let's circle back to bowling.

Know what I saw?

Kids in middle school and high school with those stupid bumpers up on their lanes.

Mine is still in elementary school but if you know me, you will know, those bumpers were down.

I couldn't believe my eyes.

It begged the question,why won't some of us let our kids fail?

Why have we decided that they can't know disappointment and defeat?

When did we stop making kids challenge themselves?

I saw my 11 yr old get increasingly frustrated as she bowled a few gutter balls in a row BUT, she persisted and didn't give up (with my expert advice that is, wink wink).

I watched her look at children older than her with their bumpers up being given high fives and the the accolades being given out overly excessive considering the circumstance.

She kept at it though.

WITHOUT bumpers.

Without borders.

Those bumpers, to me, present as boundaries.

They serve as a way to make sure you stay on course (which is fine), but one without disappointment (which is unrealistic).

Those bumpers serve to reveal the most imaginary scenario of life conditions.

BUT, my little one, WITHOUT those bumpers up and some GUIDANCE, she persisted, and scored a strike, and then some.

But it didn't come without frustrations and some irritations.

And that is OK.

It taught her a well earned lesson, and an even more well earned eventual victory.

A lesson that I find too many kids are being robbed of; and it's the lesson that life isn't fair, or easy, but with enough hard work, it can be rewarding.

When are we going to stop pacifying our children?

I earnestly ask for all of us parents to please, please put down those those bumpers.

Allow for our children to experience a few gutter balls.

Some disappointments can ultimately lead the way to determination and success if given the right guidance through the process.

You can hold their hand without writing the map.

Allow your kids to fall, fail, and be frustrated, but be confident that with your leadership at the helm, they will learn to manage it.

As hard as it may seem, let them feel defeat now and again.

Know that you can be their cheerleader while not directly charting their course.

Understand that they may slip, and screw up, but also own the fact that it is NOT your job to sugarcoat those missteps.

It will be OK, and so will they.

Resilience is an amazing thing.

Being corralled and cared for are two different things.

I want us to allow our kids to be curious, courageous, and confident.

Teach them that they may not always be able to stay "in their lane" but that's OK.

That's life.

TUTOR them on how to to handle it, without totally fencing them in.

Let them develop a sense of determination and success that was achieved on their own.

Stop padding kids expectations.

We must stop inflating a sense of false security in our children by putting up those stupid bumpers.

Let us allow our kids to understand how to achieve a well earned "strike," and have them know the feeling of TRUE accomplishment that comes with it.



P.s. I had my too cool for school teenage son read this, you know the one who would rather mow than admit we are related?

Well his interpretation was that I am telling all parents to throw their kids out of the nest.

NOT EVEN CLOSE (or he wouldn't' be living here, or have the opportunity to read this while being taken out to breakfast; side note).

So here are the Cliff Notes:

In short what I mean to say is that we can allow our children to be disappointed and perhaps we are even doing them a disservice if they aren't every once and again.

Disappointment and defeat CAN actually build character and drive.

What I am NOT saying is that once you give birth, that your baby needs to get an Uber home and a job with a 401K.

I say this in case any other teenagers were reading this and felt the same way as my son and saw it as a call to arms against their parents because you are under the impression that your parents have a vendetta against you.

Last time I checked, that boy still lives under my roof (or in my nest), and I will continue to cheer for him at his track meets; pick up a small portion of the track team at carpool, and make him dinner.

I am not a complete savage.

Contrary to his belief, I would like to think I do have some rizz, and that I am not totally suss.

I am just "standing on business."

Insert MEGA teenage eye rolls here.

I love you L, and I will see you, and the track pack, at pick up.



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