There was a term that was often mentioned when I worked on brand new vehicles at General Motors…launch and leave. This was mainly used by the dealers when GM would “launch” a brand new vehicle with a lot of media and invest millions of dollars launching a car to increase awareness and consideration. The “leave” part came in when the media plan and money was spent and the selling and awareness of the brand new vehicle would then be left to the dealers. It generally wasn’t a good thing and we often heard about it from the dealers especially when sales of the brand new vehicle were slow.
I was thinking about this idea as it relates to my kids. I’ve written posts before that talked about leaving a legacy and being involved in our kids’ lives. This post just seemed like the next natural thought in my head as it related to my thoughts on being a dad. Parents, think about your daily interactions with your kids. Are you being overprotective? Are you letting your kids make mistakes as they grow up so they can discover for themselves what is right and wrong?
This is hard for me as I’m sure it is for other parents. You want to protect your kids from pain, both physical and emotional. You go back to the day when your kid(s) were born and you remember it like it was yesterday. For me, I have 4 distinct memories like that and with each of them, I knew that I had a tremendous responsibility to teach and lead them. No pressure, right? As my kids get older, the teaching opportunities come at you in every different direction. How can I use disagreements between siblings as a teaching moment? What about sports? There are quite a few there. You can also imagine the stories that come back from pre-school, kindergarten and 2nd grade.
My point is this. If you’re paying attention to what is going on in your kids lives, you’ll see the opportunities where you need to let your kids figure out the problems for themselves. You as the adult, should be able to see when the appropriate time is to step in and provide guidance. Your goal should be to equip your kids enough so that as they get older and life’s problems get more difficult, they are able to deal with them in a manner that allows for learning. Notice I didn’t say success because we as adults know that life isn’t always filled with success! Failing forward isn’t a bad thing either!
What are you doing to “launch” your kids? Julianne and I have grounded our marriage and our parenting in a strong belief in God. We use the Bible as our guidebook of life. It is our hope that because of this, our kids will have a solid foundation to navigate through life so that when we do “leave” them, or rather, when they leave us, they can experience life with the purpose God intended them to and pass that along to their kids down the road.
It seems easy, doesn’t it? However, I’m willing to bet some of us still aren’t launching and leaving.