Every first day of school, my mom would greet us at the door with a plate of homemade cookies.
And then, from the second day of school on through the last, we three kids would let ourselves in the house, fix ourselves snacks, and wait until Mom or Dad got home to start dinner. By junior high, I was making my own lunch and doing my own laundry. My parents didn't have to tell me to become my own person or to explore my areas of giftedness. They gave me the gift of showing me the vital importance of using their own gifts.
I'm coming to learn that my upbringing was unique. Many of my friends grew up with parents (usually mothers) whose sole focus was their children. This had little to do, by the way, with whether these parents worked outside the home. It rather had to do with a single-mindedness that put pressure on their children to keep their parents happy. These friends conformed to behavior patterns I see in many young people today: accepting only As at school, overextending themselves in ...1