Strong opinion warning.
I’m not a fan of adult children living at home. It’s one thing if you’re on break from school and you’re a temporary visitor. It’s another thing when you’re able bodied. I’d even argue that the best thing for 18 year olds staying local for community college would be to kick them out of the house.
Trust me. They won’t die of exposure.
My opinion is that coddling teenagers leads to dependency. From a sociological perspective, I hypothesize adult coddling of teenagers and young adults has lead to an elongation of adolescence. (Some say it ends at 26? Crazy.) Likewise, raising a child from an early age with the goal that they will become happy, healthy, and independent young adults will prepare them for the swift kick that comes after high school graduation.
I was Lisa’s youth pastor when she was in high school. She’s the eldest child from a great family. She worked hard in high school, was faithful to God, her parents, and a dedicated student. She’d be the first to tell you that she wasn’t perfect in high school. But something in Lisa’s character kept me investing in her. When she was a sophomore she and a few others started showing up for a 6 am Bible study. I thought they’d come for 2-3 weeks… and to my amazement we kept it going for almost 2 years! After high school she headed off to Grace College where she’ll earn a degree in just a few weeks with an emphasis on criminal justice and adolescence psychology.
Last November, I was on a flight using the wifi late at night when we struck up a conversation on Facebook chat. Inevitably, I asked the question: “So what do you want to do when you grow up? What’s next?”
She had some ideas but expressed some frustration. She really wanted to go back home to Michigan but feared that she’d either not find a decent job at all or be forced to give up her dream of working with teenagers. Let’s face it– Michigan is a tough place to be a recent college grad.
I was afraid for her. My fear was that she’d move home, not find a decent job, end up in something like minimum wage… unhappy and stuck in a cycle of paying off student loans by doing jobs that she wasn’t passionate about– and living at home.
I offered a potential solution we both agreed to pray about it.
What if you moved in with us, watched our kids during their summer break, and spent the summer chasing some of those social justice dreams by volunteering with San Diego-based non-profits?
Lo and behold after a month or so of praying about it we all agreed it’d be worth a shot.
Starting in June Lisa is coming to live with us. She has the first 6 weeks of time with us to volunteer for some non-profits. (We’re basically paying her to be a volunteer!) Than the second half of the time her concentration will shift to watching our kids when school ends July 15th.
We pray it’s a win-win. She gains some experience and exposure to what God is doing in the social justice community in San Diego. And our kids have a sweet nanny.
The hope, naive as it may be, that this will be a “halfway house” type of experience. We hope that through this experience that she’ll be able to find a permanent job, land a place to stay, and move on at the end of the summer to the next phase in her life. (Probably grad school being in the not-too-far distance.)
Independence is possible. We just need to facilitate it as opposed to fostering dependency.
This is how we’re helping a societal problem. How are you?