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November 12, 2015

TBT: Launching and Leaving

shutterstock_289372868Human beings are the only creatures that allow their children to come back home.

(Bill Cosby)

(This is a difficult TBT, given the incredible fall from glory of the one who gave us the opening quote. I still love the quote, however, and I’m currently writing a new book on the whole idea behind it).

In a jocular way, I often tell seminar audiences that we do our kids a disservice by telling them “You can do anything you want to do in life, you can be anything you want to be.” No, you can’t. As I tell my kids, “You cannot be 25 years old and still living in my house. That is simply not an available career path for you.”

I once worked with a family that had three kids, each four years apart. After each kid left for college, this family actually moved to a smaller house. Like birds pushing their young out of the nest, these parents wanted to clearly communicate that their kids no longer had a home to come home to—they could always visit, but they had to make a new home for themselves out in the world.

Contrast that with the growing numbers of families seemingly installing revolving doors into their homes, welcoming wandering adult kids back into the fold. Sure, it’s easy to justify—it’s expensive out there, we miss them, they just need a little more time, whatever. But it’s also indicative that we have forgotten the purpose behind this whole parenting thing; we’re raising adults to launch, and leave us for an adulthood on their own.

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