Over the past month, these have been two of Lexie’s real life skills projects for the blog:
- Self-Care: Figure out one thing you can start to do (or do more/less of) to help build inner strength, resiliency, and/or happiness. Then, for the next 21 days, do the thing you choose and track what you’ve done (however you want) to see how it goes/what you notice.
- Financial Planning: Look ahead 3 months and 6 months. What upcoming expenses do you have (e.g., gas/oil change for car, travel, dinners with friends)? Write them down, including amounts (or estimates). Then, think about and write down your plan for how you’re going to pay for them (e.g., already have the money saved up in savings account, don’t yet have but will earn through xyz job, have no idea).
I chose these projects to help build the practice of self-care (because I’ve found it CRITICAL to showing up in life), as well as money management basics (because looking ahead and planning work better than magical thinking and fairy dust hoping). My goal was to get a young adult’s perspective for the blog plus (on the personal side) to offer her the opportunity to think about her own thoughts and practices in these areas — because awareness of the current state helps with clarity for next steps or improvement/building.
In reading through Lexie’s updates, I could see my inner know-it-all parent/adult popping up with “huh, this seems like it’d be easy, have you tried this?” or “you’re going to spend money on that??”. The voice of “I’ve been through the learning process and know what to do” wasn’t necessarily wrong. However, perhaps more useful to remember: it also wasn’t necessarily right.
Lexie is not me. She is her own person with her own thoughts, beliefs, priorities, and learning processes. This doesn’t mean she knows it all or doesn’t need support. (She, herself, would tell you she doesn’t and does, respectively — same for me and all of us). Instead, especially in this phase of young adulthood (almost 20!), sometimes the best teacher is experience. Perhaps hard to want to see as a parent (I don’t think I’m unique in not wanting to see my kids struggle, if I can help it), though an effective instructor.
If I’m honest, the hard knocks school of life helped me get some of the most useful life lessons I’ve learned. I can remember my parents or other well meaning adults offering lessons, though some of the biggies didn’t fully sink in until I’d experienced pain points from not getting it. Then I got the importance for myself.
By all means, let’s ask good questions, plant seeds, and offer gems of wisdom (kindly!) to our kids. Let’s also keep in mind they may choose not to answer, plant, or take them (at least right now). And that’s okay. If/when they don’t, our job is to continue with our own self-care and role model the best we can, and remind ourselves they will learn (and are). Sure, there may be some bumps; while painful, they will help them learn resiliency and self-efficacy (HUGE!). And — they will eventually come out the other side with the skills they need for this messy journey called life.