Great gifts mean great responsibilities; greater gifts, greater responsibilities! ~ The Message
For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required. ~King James Version
One of my dad’s sisters once told me a story he shared with her about the way my brothers and I spent our allowance when we were kids. Aunt Vena said Daddy told her if he gave us our allowance on a Friday he could guarantee that by Monday none of us would have any money available. Danny would have spent his allowance on candy and junk at the Mr. M Food Store next door to our home. David would have taken his allowance to the bank and banked every penny of it. Vena said when asked what Kathy/I would do with the money he said, “Spend every dime of it….on someone else.” She said Daddy said of the three options he thought maybe mine was the one he liked best.
I was recently told by someone whose known me all his life that I was not smart with my money. He may well be right but now that I have received my last ever allowance from my dad, in the form of my inheritance, I plan to give some of it away just like in the old days.
Although it won’t be up and going in time for the Class of ’03, Terry and I are setting up a scholarship fund in Daddy’s memory at AHS. This $1000 scholarship will go to an AHS graduating senior who is going to a trade school of some sort. Welding school, cooking school, lineman school, HVAC training, some type of skilled trade. Terry and I are passionate about education but we understand something that our lawmakers have yet to grasp. Not all students want/need to go to college. There are a lot of square pegs being squished into round holes and that is not fair to the student. Without skilled trades our country would fall apart. Someone with a love of working with their hands needs to be the one to fix our air conditioners, repair our vehicles, cook State Dinners at the White House and wire our homes. The Joe Fuller Memorial Skilled Trades Scholarship will help one square peg continue their education in a non-university setting.
We plan to set up the scholarship as a non-profit so we can do fund raising and seek donations. I’ve gotten the process started at school and will be giving up dates as they become available. I hope we can do Daddy proud.
Game for just about anything, she was Room Mom to 3 different classes in 3 different grades for years, she hiked up mountains in Colorado and Wyoming even though she got mountain sickness, she was 3rd in her high school senior class because she didn’t want to be 1st or 2nd and, therefore, have to give a speech, she started college at 31- when her youngest child started first grade – finishing 4 years later with a near perfect GPA, she taught thousands of elementary and pre-school children, she loved liverwurst, was David Fuller’s “Call a Friend” lifeline, had an infectious laugh, a beautiful smile, she prayed both her stubborn sons into their walk with the Lord and she had a combined gentle spirit and Type A/Perfectionist determination.
Hiking to Upper Twelve Mile Lake, Colorado 1973
Her name was Winifred Maxine but only my dad dared to call her “Winnie” from time to time, family and close friends called her Max, co-workers called her Maxine, her students called her Mz Fuller, Terry began calling her Mama Max when we first began dating and it eventually became her “grandmother name”, David and Danny called her Mom. To me, she was, and will always be, Mama.
She made “3 in 3 years” look easy. As the mother of “3 in 4 years” I know it’s not.
This picture, of Mama, The Boys and me, was taken on the grounds of the Alamo in Summer 1962. The one below is from August 1987 with her grands.
Sometime in the early part of this century, while living in Azle to be near Muttie after my grandfather’s stroke, Mama began to have the first brushes with the dementia, TIAs and Alzheimer’s which ultimately took her mind and her life. I first noticed her inability to do things she’d once done well on Thanksgiving Day in 2003 when I realized she’d forgotten how to type and how to roll out pie crust. Some of my close friends began to notice problems in 2006 and David joined the party in December 2007 while Terry and I were on our first cruise. We lost her a good while before she actually died. She said my name only once in her last 30 months of life.
Mama would have been 76 today. I miss her but, in truth, I missed her even while she was still alive because for several years she wasn’t really her. Daddy said it best the day he told me she was the most intelligent person he’d ever known and that it was a shame her mind had let her brain down. Happy Birthday, Mama. I miss you but I’m glad you are where you are with God and a mind that is no longer letting down your brain.
Another rerun on parenting.
Life coach, Professional Speaker, Author, and Gen Y Expert
Perhaps you’ve heard the term “helicopter parenting” as a way to describe the way today’s 20-somethings (Gen Y) were hovered over in childhood by their parents. As a life coach to 20-somethings and consultant to corporations with Gen Y employees, I’ve seen the effects of an even more intrusive child-rearing style that I have coined as “cockpit parenting.” Cockpit parents did more than hover. They sat right in the pilot’s seat of their child’s life, charting the course and navigating all of the twists and turns. And they often remain there well into their child’s adulthood. The result is a trend of 20-somethings who are having trouble thriving as independent adults.
Cockpit parenting does come from a place of love. However, this intrusive and often controlling way of child rearing has caused many 20-somethings to be unequipped for life outside of the nest (which is why so many never leave or move back home after college). It is the children of cockpit parents who most often fit the stereotypes of Gen Y: sense of entitlement, consistent need for validation, non-self-starters, mediocre work ethic and a general lack of soft skills. Conversely, 20-somethings who come from backgrounds that may appear to be more difficult (such as having absentee parents) are more prepared for grown-up life because they had no choice but to grow up.
Terry and I prefer to be our children’s ground crew rather than flying the helicopter for them. A ground crew gives support, guidance and advice. The pilot is in charge of the craft. David calls the plan for turning them lose and flying their own helicopter “Kicking them through the goal posts of life”. More Baby Boomers need be ground crew and do the kicking and allow their adult and nearly adult kids do more solo flying.
At school I am often amazed by things I see from parents. I had a student years back whose mom brought her lunch to school every. single. day. and wanted it delivered to the student. One couple brought bottled water for their child each day to have delivered to the student. One day, upon receiving her daily pass to my office, the student looked at me and said, “I have told them not to do this. Next time YOU tell them or you just keep the water but I am not leaving class again to pick up a bottle of water I’m going to give away.” It took about a week but eventually the bottled water deliveries stopped. I see parents who are smothering their kids and they don’t understand the harm they are doing. I know a dear woman who abhors helicopter parents, is constantly gripping about them and has yet to realize she is one.
When they were growing up the chicks of the ‘Nest had chores and responsibilities. As they grew so did the responsibilities. We paid auto insurance, they set aside the cost of the deductible “just in case”, paid their own gas, etc. They each started off driving one of our cars and then we bought an additional car for them to share. Each bought their own car as soon as they had enough money saved. We provided a “pay as you go” cell phone and they bought the minutes for it. We paid college tuition, they paid for their books. They had a vested interest in everything. Being vested in a situation which makes anyone more aware of the value of the thing.
As they have become adults we have lent our children money on occasion. Lend/Lent. Not give or given. Just as our parents did for us “back in the day”. I keep a ledger and as they pay back something borrowed a notation is made and the balance lowered. I am grateful we were able to do that for them but even when they were young they understood working for what you have, needs vs wants and spend money vs savings. With Colton’s health issues Katie and Brian needed extra help and we are paid back each paycheck – we are on an auto draft. When they decided to quit their jobs to go back and finish college we told Kristie and Jordan we would help them. We are now on an auto draft from them as well. Chris recently used a credit card we have for a necessary purchase. He faithfully made the payments directly to the credit card company. Even if we had the funds to shower them with gifts and give them money whenever they needed or wanted it we wouldn’t do it. It’s simply not in anyone’s best interest.
How sad that some parents would rather arrest the development of their child in the name of “helping” them than allow the child to grow, make mistakes and learn from them and become functioning adults.
Terry and I are the ground crew. The kids know we are here if they need us but they all fly their own helicopter, just as they should.