My daughter is a junior in high school, and so begins the "hunt" for college.
AND, much like during the caveman days, in addition to hunting, there is also searching and gathering.
Recently, she and I spent an evening at her school, listening to several "experts" speak and give powerpoint presentations on how to go about the process (gathering).
Imagining that we were all cavemen, sitting in our modern, plastic chairs (like in the Geico commercials), somehow, made the evening much more amusing to me.
Like a young child, I try to create my own entertainment in my head, if it is not provided for me.
Fortunately, I was born with a pretty wonderful imagination.
During the hour and a half presentation, there was ONE comment that made an impression on me.
One of the speakers was the spouse of an assistant dean at one of the local colleges.
In pointing out the importance of ALLOWING OUR CHILDREN TO TAKE OWNERSHIP OF THE COLLEGE SEARCH PROCESS, she mentioned that, from her husband's perspective, one of the BIGGEST RISING PROBLEMS WITH COLLEGE STUDENTS in recent years has been the INABILITY TO MAKE THEIR OWN DECISIONS AND PERFORM SIMPLE TASKS.
While they carry with them, through the "prestigious university" doors, all of the necessary grades
and test scores, THEY LACK THE ABILITY TO PERFORM BASIC LIFE SKILLS,
Managing their own money,
Doing their own laundry,
Cooking a simple meal,
Plunging a toilet,
Organizing their time (and their rooms),
PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS,
Making even the most simple of decisions.
AKA - CAVEMAN SKILLS.
I smiled, and nodded because, I have been well aware of this growing problem since my children were little, by observing those around me.
While I was busy raising my kids to be independent,
understanding that through autonomy, grows confidence,
I would watch other children their ages constantly depending on others to fulfill their needs -
children who were well above the age where they should be tying their own shoe laces,
cutting their own food up, making their own lunches, etc.
Having said that, my daughter, especially, made it easy for me, as she was born with an independent spirit, and many times, though I wished for her to "need" me a little bit more than she did, I lovingly gave her the space that she required, while always keeping a "watchful eye" over her.
Of course, that never ends. That applies more than ever, now that she is seventeen
(and doing her own laundry).
Borrowed from the words of a two year old ( "I do it!"), I have always tried to raise my kids with the philosophy - "YOU can do it!"
Now, while this may seem like a push for "mother of the year", believe me when I tell you, I am FAR from the perfect parent. I am sure that my children will contest to that.
BUT, I do know that when I send my kids off to college, they will be self-sufficient.
At 17, 14, and 11.......................they already are.
I think that is worth more than a few extra points on their GPA.