Sandy Welch Thompson
Kidults. Yep, that is a new word I am giving you today. The dictionary is allowing “lol” and such, so why not add this one. I’m sure it will offend some of you, but when you are my age, I’m sorta okay with that. We are in the last stages before watching so many of our friends and family embrace that traditional milestone of walking across the stage to get that diploma. Albeit the lovely folder they received has a blank piece of paper enclosed, but a milestone nonetheless. This new term I’ve created applies to all the beautiful children we have raised, who are now embarking on new journeys of their own (according to all the graduation speeches I’ve heard over the years). To me, most of you are still kidults. You can’t clean your room or pick up dirty laundry, but you can give your parents a well-informed political opinion or argue with conviction about everything under the sun. See the conflict? I tend to think that I might give a little more credibility if I didn’t find socks in the driveway or dishes under a bed. Just sayin’. Anyway, this switching-of-the-tassel moment of pomp and circumstance signifies a life change to anyone who has gone through it. Some will see it as the threshold into freedom and some will see it as the end to the best years of their life. Either way, with that diploma, you did earn the right to have people see you as accomplished and they did. You did it. You made it. Kudos to all. Now, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of this new term. Most of you are still kidults. You’ve reached the point where you want your opinion heard. Many years ago, I was right there with ya! You know a lot and you want to make sure that everyone realizes just how important your point of view is. I get it. I truly do. Here’s where your old friend Sandy comes in – stress on the old part. Seriously do pray for me because I simply stood up from my desk the other day and pulled a hammy. Ok back to my advice. I’m going to impart on you some wisdom you are not going appreciate for years to come. Does that bother me? Nah. But if you read this, you’ll take a little piece with you and some day it will come to mind. I’ll bet most parents out there can identify with even the smallest of morsels of this Sandy Path. As a kidult, you are inevitably going to give me your opinion. I want it to be an informed opinion or I won’t value it at all. Newsflash! You don’t know EVERYTHING. Another newsflash…We don’t either! And as I have said numerous times, just because you yell louder, it doesn’t make you any smarter and it danged sure doesn’t make you anymore right. Both sides try it. It never works. But with a little understanding and just a small amount of appreciation for each other, we could all learn something new. Otherwise, your folks are just too old to understand and you are just a know-it-all kidult. First of all. You ARE our kids. You will always be our kids. God made us first and that’s all there is to it. Then, he blessed us with precious little beings. No matter how old you are, you will now and forever be known as our offspring. Embrace it and just deal with it. It’s much easier than trying to distance yourself from whence you come. Own who you really ARE right now, then it’s much easier to appreciate who you become later. You can ‘fake it til you make it’ with a lot of people, with the exception of the folks you were raised around. No amount of makeup (so to speak) can cover up all the blemishes we know you have, and conversely…that you know we have. It makes us all human. Secondly, I have often told my kids that you do learn from everything in your life. Whether you want to or not, good examples or bad, you still walk away from each experience with something different than you walked in. Apply what you have seen, heard and experienced to create an informed way to red rover someone to your side (old game…ask your folks if you don’t know what it means.) You don’t have to agree with people in order to appreciate what they bring to the table. Learning doesn’t stop with a diploma. It has just started. Learning textbook information is only part of this beautiful thing called life. Learning people is an ever-changing task. At some point we all transition from the person receiving well intended information to the people presenting the information. Just remember: Advice is only advice if someone asks for it. Otherwise, you are just stickin’ your nose in somewhere it doesn’t belong. If you haven’t learned the basics of dealing with people and simple life events, grab a helmet my friends. Life is fixin’ to get hard. It’s not fair either. Get used to it but don’t forget your resources. That would be us, the parents, the friends, the families that you have been part of for so long. The ones that put a bandage on your knee when you fell off your bike or took you to ER when you got a bead stuck up your nose. The ones that tiptoed into your room to steal a tooth and leave some money. The ones that got thrown up on, pooped on and held you so close when you were sick that you thought you were suffocating. We are also the ones that pray every single day for your success and happiness, while you are rolling your eyes at the thought of listening to us nag about whatever it is we may think you need direction for. On this adventure called adulthood, you are going to run into obstacles – real obstacles, not the gossip of a high school hallway or a social media post that upset you. Not a pathetic boyfriend or girlfriend that wrecked your world. Real, true obstacles. Life altering obstacles and you will be defined by your decisions in those moments. Navigate well. As parents, we tend to move these from your path from the time you are born until you graduate. And, well…some folks put obstacles in your path on purpose as learning tools for you to grow. Either way, you are steering the ship now. Take charge, but take care too. Parents only speak from what they know. Some of us just don’t know much so don’t blame us for our ignorance. Pray for our discernment. Just like we have prayed for yours so many, many sleepless nights. Truth is, your parents are not ‘out to get ya’. We never have been. No matter what you think. We aren’t sitting back devising ways to ruin your delicate life. We are attempting to teach you and in the process, we are learning to be parents ourselves. There are a bunch of us out here that wanted better for our kids than we had. Then, when you reach the age I am…you realize you didn’t have it so bad. You also realize “better” is a subjective term, especially to a kidult. Having said all that, be patient with us. We are making this transition with you. Soon the kid part drops off and the adult part kicks in. You might be amazed one day at what you gleaned from us along the way. You won’t see it yet, but you will. Oh, you will. You will hear your dad or your mom from your own mouth and wonder when THAT happened! Just remember, we had to trust other people when you got on the bus the first time. We had to trust you when you got a driver’s license and took off on your own. Now, now we have to trust ourselves in that we’ve given you enough guidance to conquer the world on your own terms. We are your worst critics, but your biggest fans. Somewhere in all those years we have grown to appreciate your intelligence and capabilities, but worried about some of your decisions. We grew to brag on your strengths and pray for your weaknesses. But make no mistake, throughout this entire parenting process, we’ve loved you, like no other love in the world. My God, we have loved you. And with that we hope that when you finally transition from kid to adult, some day you will see us as your friend.