To be spontaneous and adventurous as a child must have been a nice thing for those of you who grew up with parents who let the leash out a bit. The paranoia displayed by what society refers to as helicopter parents has always been viewed with extreme negativity. With the “take life by the horns” attitude being an important aspect in the lives of teens, young adults, and 20-somethings today, most people can’t help but wonder, what the heck were those overprotective parents thinking?
Before we get any further, let me just clarify something: I’m thankful my parents raised me the way they did. No, I’m not saying my parents adopted the smothering and controlling behavior that you would likely find in a cult. My parents were, simply put, cautious. Years ago, I’d like to think they were a little overly cautious, but now I’m beginning to see how crucial that was in building my character today in so many ways. (And for the record, I think I turned out pretty awesome).
1. They were always concerned with my well-being and still are today.
It may have gotten on my nerves a little bit, especially in high school, but they always had my best interest at heart. They wanted to know things, to be informed, and to be a part of my life. Whether it was asking about my grades (from grade school to college) or meeting my friends, there was always a question or conversation with them that pushed me in a positive direction.
2. They made me a person of my word.
Let’s be real: making promises shouldn’t be given a second thought. If you say you are going to do something, you better do it. My parents made that clear to me from a very young age. Going back on your word only diminishes the amount of credibility you hold with other people. If you want to gain the trust of others, hold to your word, even if it seems a difficult task.
3. They taught me about true work ethic and paying attention to detail.
Call me crazy, but I pride myself on a job well done. Unfortunately, this does pose a small problem for me: I hold my standards for work ethic extremely high. Because of how I have always worked, whether it is employment, school, or sports, I’m overly-organized with everything I own or work around and I challenge my own standards on a regular basis. Overall, the push for attention to detail with my parents applied to everything from school to sports to dates on the calendar. While I found it anal and annoying years ago, I now attribute my appreciation for hard work and a job well done to my parents.
4. They taught me the difference between a want and a need.
I didn’t get a cell phone until the end of my junior year of high school. No, you aren’t seeing things; that’s a true statement. One of the only reasons I ever had for wanting a cell phone earlier was because everyone else had one. When it came down to it, the only real reason for needing a cell phone was so my parents could get ahold of me or I could get ahold of them. A phone was a luxury that could have easily disappeared if I ignored any of my parent’s rules. To worry an overprotective parent only makes them increase their caution levels, so beware how often you ignore those casual check-up calls and texts from mom and dad.
5. They taught me how to budget my money carefully.
It’s okay to binge shop every once in a while. It’s okay to treat yourself out to a dinner or girls night too. The key is to do these things in moderation. I’m not sitting here saying my parents are rich because that would be an embellishment. However, my parents are wealthy with knowledge and life lessons. My parents made sure that they taught me not to waste a penny. Because of budgeting plans and restrictions during my teenage and college years, I was able to pay for college out of pocket with no debt while still getting to enjoy the rewards of shopping or eating out.
6. They taught me right from wrong.
Punching someone because they took something of yours isn’t okay. Calling names for the sake of calling names isn’t okay either. My parents made it very clear that the punishment was well-deserved when we were punished. Whether it was defiance, arguing with siblings, or simply making poor choices, they never hesitated in correcting the behavior.
While I may have gone to private/Catholic schools from kindergarten through high school and been on a little bit of a tighter leash when it came to who I could hang out with, where I could go, and things that I was allowed to do, I wouldn’t trade any of that looking back. I never really missed out on anything worth having. My parents taught me what life was about and what you need to live a good life, even if it wasn’t the latest trend. Every little thing my parents did, said, or taught to me and my sisters growing up was more important than how people looked at me back then. My parents made me into a person of faith, strong moral character, and determination. I owe them the world and so much more for that.