Children are wonderful beings, most of the time when they’re not making mommies and daddies pull their hair out. I know this for a fact because I have two beautiful children and yes, sometimes I want to pull my hair out. I am consoled by the fact that they both angels when they are in the homes of others and they just save their crankies for mom and dad.
Well, a couple of weeks ago I took my eldest son out on a playdate to our science museum followed by lunch at the Spaghetti Factory Restaurant. Four 7 year old boys and Four moms. Yes, we were pretty loud. 🙂
The museum was great and a splendid time was had by all. Then we were off to lunch.
At lunch the waiter sat us at a large group table and handed everyone their menus. All the kids were on one side of the table and the moms on the other end. My son sat across from me. My son is 7 so he knows how to read now so he looked at his menu. Here’s the conversation
Me: “Hey Buddy, Do you know what you want?”
Alex: “Yes, I do.”
Me: “Ok, great.”
The waiter, after filling our water glasses, came back to take our orders. Each mom/child pair ordered so we could have our separate bills. Alex and I were last. Each mom before us ordered for herself and then ordered for her son. At my turn I ordered my soup and salad and then said to Alex, “Your turn.”
He proceeded to order for himself. It went something like this:
Alex: “I’d like the chicken tenders please”
Waiter: “With soup of salad?”
Alex: “What type of soup do you have?”
Alex: “I’ll have the soup please.”
Waiter: “And what would you like to drink?”
Alex: “I’ll have milk with that, please.”
And the was that. The waiter didn’t even think twice about taking the order from a 7 year old boy and actually conversing with him without a second thought about me. It was then that I noticed that we were the only mother/son pair that did this. The interesting part about it is that I don’t even think the other mother’s noticed what I had done. Food arrived and we had a blast. Would it have been easier for me just to order for both of us? Sure. But there’s no lesson in that. No teachable moment. Instead:
I had empowered my son to take control of his choices.
I knew he’d make the correct food choices because he’s been ordering for himself for a while. Yes, he’s only 7 and there are plenty of choices he is not going to make for himself yet. That doesn’t mean empowerment can’t start at a young age.
Now here’s the back-story. I learned this from my friend and Mentor Mark Hoverson. Maybe a year ago now, Mark told a story about how when he takes his son out to eat he has him order for himself. Since Mark’s kids are my kids age, his story resonated with me. It was just one way of helping empower his son.
Far too many times in life we as parents coddle and enable our children, moms especially because we want nothing bad to happen to our babies. I get this. That’s me a lot of times. Granted sometimes this is necessary so they don’t truly harm themselves. Jumping out of a tree house usually ends up in someone getting hurt. Bad choice.
So, Mark’s story brought me to the thought that this is one way of empowering my son and we started the practice almost immediately after that powerful mentoring story from Mark.
Empowering versus Enabling. How many times in life do we truly empower our friends or our colleagues? And if we’re not empowering then are we enabling them to continue to live a life less than they want because it is easier?
Come check out my vision for empowering people by clicking this link.
Also, let me know what you think about my story…drop a comment below and share this with others. You might just impact someone elses day and I’ll appreciate hearing from you.
All the best,