Our daughter Leah has always homeschooled and in 2012, she graduated from our homeschool, Shekinah Christian Academy. Since then, Leah has not enrolled in college classes nor does she have a job. When Ray and I, her sisters, her grandparents, and friends ask her what she wants to do, she always gives the same response: “I don’t know.”
I have always been like a racehorse, rarin’ to go out of the starting gate to RUN. I know what I want in life and I make snap decisions, relying on hearing God’s still, small voice and paying attention to my gut instincts.
My husband Ray is much more slow in decision-making and in action, like a turtle. One time I bought a ceramic turtle as a gift for Ray, telling him that it was a symbol of his and God’s pace. He laughed.
While I don’t want Leah to move out yet (I don’t believe she is ready), I DO want her to take some kind of step of action and set goals for her future. She can’t live forever with Ray and me.
One day she will need to be a self-supporting adult.
For me to have a child who seems to have no sense of direction and to make decisions even more slowly than God or Ray drives me UP THE WALL!
What do you do when your (almost grown) child doesn’t know what to do after graduation?
Dr. James Lehman, MSW, writes in his article Rules, Boundaries and Older Children Part III: Is It Ever Too Late To Set Up A Living Arrangement?
“Independence is a decision you can make as a family. If a young adult child is doing well, living at home and meeting the family’s expectations, then there’s no problem. But someday he will want to be independent. The way you get there is to sit down and have the child set some goals. Where do you plan to live? When do you plan to move out? How much does the child need to pay for rent or room and board while living at home? Measure progress toward the goal by the objectives...The greatest gift you can give your child is knowing how to be independent and take responsibility.”
Leah is constantly on her iPhone and on Facebook. The Huffington Post writes that Leah’s Generation Y are handicapped for their preference for living online, and are losing touch with what it’s really like to do things people have always done: make friends, date, and even work.
I’ve been encouraging Leah to set goals and write down her dreams. She still says, “I don’t know.” Do you have a child or children like this? What do you do? Please share your comments below.
Here’s what Leah IS doing these days:
- Continuing to take violin lessons using the Suzuki method. She’s doing really well, learning classical music, hymns, Irish jigs, and more. I like to tease her by dancing in the hallway when she plays the Irish jigs. (She just rolls her eyes!) The songs she’s working on playing now are becoming much harder. I love listening to her play…beautiful!
- Attending small group (a house church) each Sunday, where she hangs out with her teen/young adult friends. We go to small group each week for Bible study, worship, prayer, fellowship, and sometimes potluck dinners. Two of the boys in this group (one graduated, one is still in high school) already have jobs, working with their dad in his window-cleaning business. One of the teen girls homeschools, but enrolled in a dual-credit college writing class this August. I’ve tried to use these young adults/teens’ choices as an incentive for Leah to take action, but nothing doing. Two of my friends gave me a word that they believe Leah is like a late-blooming flower. These flowers bloom much later in the year, but when they do, they seem to shoot up overnight. One article reads that when late bloomers finally get it, they are the driving forces in the world. I believe Leah will be, too. She’s highly intelligent, is an amazing artist, is doing wonderful playing the violin, is funny, creative, and spiritually gifted. God has a great plan for her life…but I still get frustrated when she says, “I don’t know!”
- Helping me a lot as my personal assistant with creating videos and at my live events, such as The Cinderella Story: The Power of Shoes women’s conference I just hosted and spoke at in Overland Park, KS, on September 20. I couldn’t have done it without Leah’s and others’ help!
- Doing chores. I am not a maid. I am a speaker, author, and coach, working primarily on my laptop at home when I’m not speaking at a women’s conference or event. I can’t do everything, and sometimes need Leah’s or Ray’s help with cleaning and organizing the house. Recently Ray advised me to make a schedule for Leah to help me with certain chores. Livestrong.com advises parents to have rules such as doing chores to ensure young adults don’t become lazy or take advantage of their parents’ generosity. Once Leah is moved out, she will have to do this on her own.
- Reading. Ray has challenged all of our daughters to read the Les Miserables book, which (in paperback) has 1,488 pages. Heather and Eden did not finish it. Leah is still working on it. She also reads science fiction and other fiction books.
- Watching Star Trek and other sci-fi movies with Ray. When Leah moves out, poor Ray won’t have a movie buddy…at least not with his sci-fi movies, because I don’t like them at all! I do invite Ray to watch movies with me sometimes, which he usually says are “okay” and are “Beth movies.” (chic flics, dramas, etc.)
- Walking the track. We have a track by the hospital in town, which is almost brand new and has a smooth surface, that Leah and I sometimes walk. We both need to be more disciplined about this, especially before Missouri snow and ice hit.
- Texas trip. Leah took another trip to Texas with Ray this summer to pick up her sister Eden, who was moving back to Missouri after 6 months’ time with her mom Karla and a friend in Texas. These long road trips with Ray are good dad-daughter time and they’ve made special memories.
- Babysitting. Leah has helped out her sister Heather this summer with babysitting her daughters (our precious grandchildren Annabelle and Violet) on special occasions, when Heather had to work and they weren’t at summer camp. Annabelle admired Leah’s violin playing so much that she decided she wanted to learn. She’s doing great, too!
- Working on her tablet art. Several years ago, Ray bought Leah a graphic art tablet. She is a completely self-taught artist and is incredible. At the beginning of this year, she set a goal to draw something on her tablet or by hand every day. She continues to improve.
- Learning to cook. This is something I need to be more diligent about with her. Sometimes it seems easier and faster to do things myself, but Leah needs to know how to cook for when she does move out on her own or marries one day. Cooking is one of my LEAST liked activities (it’s akin to water torture, in my opinion), but I am trying to get better about it. We are going to attend one of our daughter Heather’s Wild Tree parties next week, to learn how to cook healthier meals using organic products that don’t have all the chemicals, preservatives, additives, food coloring, GMO’s, and other unhealthy things in them.
God continues to work patience in me as Leah takes time to decide what it is she wants for her life. Ray has told me not to push her, but to instead encourage and motivate her.
I am so thankful she doesn’t give Ray and me heartaching problems many parents face such as sexual promiscuity, alcohol or drug use, curfew violations, and other serious rebellion. She keeps her room clean most of the time, does her own laundry, enjoys spending time with us as a family, and attends small group (our church) with her friends weekly.
I pray each day for God to speak to her about His plan and purpose for her life, and that He will give her the courage to step out in faith for the next step of her life.
“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” – Coco Chanelby