Yesterday I received a lovely handwritten thank you note for a wedding gift. It came from a bride, a professional young woman in her early thirties. Here was the curious part: my address was written not in the center of the envelope, but near the top, close to the stamp and postmark.
It made me think of a conversation I’d had a while ago with my friend Nancy. Her son handed her a thank you note to put in the mail. “He hadn’t addressed it or stamped it. He doesn’t know how! He had always just given me the written thank-you note, and I took care of mailing it. That was fine when he was ten…but he’s twenty-one! Sometimes I think I’ve hobbled my kids with kindness.”
To be fair, I don’t want to overlook the fact that the bride and Nancy’s son wrote thank you notes. Expressing gratitude is an important life skill.
Yet it’s an interesting phrase Nancy used: to hobble with kindness. “To hobble” is normally used for livestock–to tie an animal’s legs together to prevent it from straying.
Short term, it is easier to do more for our kids. But long term? We end up extending our children’s adolescence.
Can you think of some skills you wished you’d taken the time to teach your children? I can. In fact, I’ll get it started…all four of my kids left for college without knowing how to sew on a button.