Tue, April 8, 2014
Living In the Basement
Being a parent is tough.  It is one of the most demanding jobs ever, and I love it!  As I write this I sit looking at the Gulf of Mexico on our family vacation with my wife, both daughters, son in law and our first grandbaby, life could not get much better.  It took work to get our lives here, and it will continue to take work to be a stable loving parent.  The work has its rewards, and it has its times that are difficult, but hey that is the job and we need to embrace it for what it is, a leadership role with responsibilities.

I understand that we boomers all want what is best for our children, I get that, so when some people read this article they may get a little ticked off because it may feel like I am calling some parents out.

Frankly I am, read on, and take this advice because it is never too late for self improvement.

As a parent we have obligations, not only to our children, but to society as a whole.  Our job as parents is not to be our children's best friend, long term financial provider, and security blanket.  It is our job to build character, work ethic and the desire to become good souls and people.  It is our job to take our young birds, nurture them into fledglings and then release them from the nest, self sufficient and ready to take on the challenges of life.

Too many of us parents are failing our children, and we should be ashamed.

Living vicariously through our children, attending their events be it as performers or athletes, begins this vicious cycle that inhibits our parental abilities to be what they really need, stable and loving parents, not their best friend.

Baby boomers have for a long time now provided the best of the best for our children under the mistaken disguise of love, giving every opportunity, every toy, every fancy tech gadget we can possibly afford or not afford, racking up debt all in the givingess of goodness.  This curse of plentifullness, of over-spoiling and having it all built in our children this false sense of entitlement, and it is ruining our younger generations, so we need to acknowledge this and stop.  Boomers we still have time to let our birds grow into strong self-sufficient adults, tough love is now needed.

(Yes I understand that 'givingness' and 'plentifullness' are not real words, go with me here)!

I met a real estate broker on our vacation a couple of days ago while Sandy and I were rambling around Fort Myers Beach on bikes looking at open houses, I like to call it research and reconnaissance.  This man named Michael  was a great guy, very smart and extremely knowledgeable and we immediately hit it off.  We started talking about the impending real-estate boom fueled by fifty and sixty something aged baby boomers and how they will fuel the demand for relocation and warmer weather.  I look at this as a microcosm of our economic future in America, the explosion of growth fueled by pent up demand from us, the above mentioned fifty and sixty something boomers.

There is only one small problem as Michael explained to me, as it relates to the context of the real-estate/economic/job creation/ boom, which is- "our children". 

More specifically, our children who have finished college and or not finished college and moved back home, to the comfort zone on mom and dad's eternal security blanket.  Over 25 years old and living at home, are you kidding me!

Are we raising our children to become eagles, where their own flight is mandatory to their own successful lives, or wing clipped birds that cannot survive outside of the nest?  Dependant on mom and dads basement comfort zone, empowering a bunch of slackers!

Co-dependent relationships do not inspire greatness, they inspire great video gamers.

Harsh, perhaps, truthful stats speak for themselves when reportedly 33% of 18-32 year olds still live at home.  And why is it that according to a study from 'Opportunity Nation' nearly 15 percent of Americans between 18 and 24 are currently not in school or working?  Maybe we need a reality check boomers, and help our kids in a tough love kind of way.

Ok, enough on the negative, I am all about the positive so here are a few exceptions to let us all become "FREE"!
  1. To live in the basement you must be actively involved in advancing your skill set.  Education, training, something positive that can enhance your growing some feathers so you can learn to fly!  Graduate school is ok, we did that for our eldest and it worked great.
  2. Recently graduated from college and TEMPORARILY LIVING IN THE BASEMENT.  Yes sometimes it is tough getting started fresh out of school, you have six months.  Mom and Dad have a life to live and we did our job getting you through college, now get busy and find work and make us proud.  NO EXCEPTIONS!
  3. If something drastic occurs see rules 1&2!

Tom Matt is the host of the daily radio talk show "Boomers Rock" and he welcomes your feedback

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