Parenting is by far one of the most difficult jobs around for most people. Let me clarify, parenting is difficult. Having children is easy. There is a distinct difference between the two.Two weeks ago, my sister-in-law came in from Florida for a visit. Part of her visit entailed renting a minivan and driving to Las Vegas. She rented the van and I was listed as a 2nd driver, even though I did all of the driving on the trip.
During the rental process, the rental agency required both our driver license numbers, proofs of insurance, full names, addresses, phone numbers and the hotel where we would be staying. I’ve rented numerous vehicles before, so I know that the information they require is just a part of the rental process.
By doing the sometimes difficult job of parenting, going overboard in the eyes of our kids sends a subtle message to them that they are valuable.
Someone who has never rented a car before may be asking why they require such detailed information. The answer is because they will be loaning you a very valuable asset and they need to be reasonably sure that their asset will be in responsible hands and will be returned without damage.
My kids are more to me than an asset
Today, our 17 year old received a text message from one of his friends inviting him out for a day at the beach. When I asked who was going with them, he told me that everyone going would be family members of the kid who invited him.
As they arrived to pick him up, the cousin behind the wheel of the car was someone whom I had never met before. He looked young, and I could see he was heavily tattooed (which doesn’t mean a lot these days). With that being the case, I asked the cousin for his full name, full address, driver’s license number, insurance policy number and the license plate number of the car he was driving.
Teens are embarrassed over the strangest things
Some may think my request was a little overboard. Some may think that running the risk of embarrassing my kid makes making such a request an unreasonable thing to do. However, my kid means much more to me than a rental car does to a rental agency. So if a rental agency can require all of my pertinent information to reasonably assure that they know the whereabouts of their rental car, isn’t it reasonable to inquire about who will be transporting a commodity which is much more precious to me than a rental car?
Shame on you in the worst case scenario
I don’t anticipate it but what if my kid does go missing. What if law enforcement needs to get involved in the location or identification of my kid? How can I possibly profess to love my kid when:
a) I don’t know who the driver of the car was he left the house with
b) I don’t know the license plate number of the car he left in
c) I don’t know what beach they were going to
d) I don’t know what the person looks like who is driving the car that my kid left the house with
e) I don’t even know if the driver of the car was a licensed driver
Parenting means you’re willing to be present
If I don’t know anything about the whereabouts of my kids, I really don’t need to be here. And if I really don’t need to be here, how can that qualify as parenting at all? I understand that our kids need space to grow and develop. I understand that sometimes simply by existing we become embarrassments to them when in the presence of their friends.
However I also know that they will get over their embarrassment and with time they will come to understand that true parenting supersedes any potential embarrassment they may have to endure.
By doing the sometimes difficult job of parenting, going overboard in the eyes of our kids also sends a subtle message to them that they are valuable. Will embarrassment or potentially uncomfortable situations stop you from protecting that which is precious to you? Just a little parental food for thought….