Monday, November 18, 2013

Day Eighteen: 18

And now back to our regularly scheduled blog theme...

So it's day 18, and I'm thinking about the age 18. The magic age of "adulthood." The birthday when my brother had luggage so lovingly placed in front of his bedroom door, my dad quoting, over and over from The Simpsons, "When you're 18, you're out the door!"

At 18, I enjoyed my first taste of true independence: first year of college, sorority rush, football games and fraternity parties, late nights, and really, really hard classes, weird roommates and lifetime friends. It was a glorious time. be 18.

18 is when you're considered an adult, right?

18 is when you gain financial responsibility, receive more duties that are "adult like," and try to navigate new situations on your own.

However, on a farm, things happen a little faster than in town. 16 may be the driving age, but my daughter has taken the truck for a (well monitored) spin in the hay field. 18 is the year for adult things like jobs and checkbooks and responsibilities. But on a farm, there's no specific age.

Even before his licensed driving days, Joe was backing a livestock trailer into a tight spot for his mom at a county fair. Even before her first "real" job, Anna will receive a pay check well before many of her friends receive an allowance. My kids will have adult like responsibilities long before the magic age of 18.

That to me is good and bad. I enjoyed being a kid. I hate to even admit that I was well into adulthood when I finally began to pay my own car insurance. I know, I know...I was a "kept kid." Walk in Joe's shoes before age 18, and if he wanted something, he'd work for it, save for it, and then, after he had enough money, he'd buy it.

These are lessons that will make my kids more adult before many of their friends. Is that fair? Are we making them grow up too fast? Possibly. However, if making our kids responsible, respectful and hard working adults before the magic age of 18 dawns upon them is wrong, then I don't want to be right.

Linking up with Holly here.


  1. I was raised in the city and can't wait to raise my children the way my husband was raised. Sure, it gives them more responsibility than most at their age, but all the adults I know that were raised this way are hard working, responsible, and respectful adults.

  2. Growing up in the ways that you describe are not bad. These are more learning responsiblity at a younger age than growing up early. Growing up early is letting your child wear make up at a very young age, dressing in junior high like you are 21, never asking questions of your childs activities because you should give them "space" and leaving your child at home with NOTHING to do because they are "old enough" 'to take care of themselves. This type of growing up early causes problems. Your description creates a very responsible your person.

  3. These are parenting choices, not country vs. city differences. As a city kid, I was doing laundry by age 9 and cooking family meals by 11. Around that same time I was regularly cleaning house, caring for pets, and babysitting my sister, 5 yrs my junior, through summer vacations. I had a savings account by age 13 and checking account, along with a "real" job, by 16. I started babysitting for friends and neighbors around 12 or 13 and that money was often my lunch money because of family finances at that time. I routinely traveled across the state with my sister as unaccompanied minors to visit our grandparents for several weeks in the summer and part of winter break and had to navigate public transportation through much of junior high and early high school. I did not drive until 18 because I had no car (my mother needing it for work). I got my license and purchased my own car at age 18 a few weeks before leaving for college. Was I less mature than a farm kid who knew how to disc a field or care for livestock? These were choices my mother had to make as a single parent struggling to make ends meet. My children are positively coddled by comparison, and I sometimes feel guilty for how little they know about basic day-to-day operations of a normal household vs. the things I was doing at their ages. I know plenty of city kids who work hard at chores, earn money for the work they do, and perform acts of service in their neighborhoods and communities without expecting anything in return. People have all kinds of struggles and it's dangerous to assume we know their stories. What you perceive as "allowance" or fun money may in fact be a paycheck earned for hard work. One of my daughters carried and installed flooring and insulation into our attic in 90+ temps this summer and earned every penny her father and I paid her. There are lots of good ways to raise decent, lovable people. Good parents try to do their best in whatever circumstances they find themselves.