This time last week, I was playing game after game after game of “Don’t Spill the Beans” with Mackenzie and Macy. If you aren’t familiar with the game, allow me to give you a brief explanation…
Each person takes their turn in placing a plastic bean on the bean pot that is balanced on two ‘arms’. The object of the game is to NOT spill the beans by upsetting the balance of the bean pot each time you place your bean in the pile. It’s actually pretty fun. So fun, in fact, that Mackenzie was barely able to wait her turn.
I can’t even begin to count the number of times I said, “Not yet, Mack. It’s Macy’s turn.” Or, “Not yet, Mack, it’s my turn.” Mackenzie wasn’t trying to ‘steal’ a turn. She was simply excited to be playing the game. She was enjoying herself so much that she was having a hard time waiting for her turn to come around again.
As I thought about this the next morning (when they asked to play again), I thought about how similar life is to Mackenzie’s exuberance in playing “Don’t Spill the Beans”.
Kids are in such a hurry to grow up they don’t want to wait their turn. It starts when they are toddlers wanting to stay up later. From there it progresses to:
- Wanting to wear clothes that make them look older
- Wearing makeup
- Playing on competitive sports teams that expect you to practice for hours each week
- Thinking they need a cell phone before they know how to carry on a conversation that goes beyond “Do you want to come over to my house and play?”
- Dating even though they can’t drive
And let’s not forget this one: wanting to be treated as an adult before they even have a job.
As parents it is your responsibility to not let your kids grow up too quickly. Kids only have eighteen years to be kids, and you need to make sure they make the most of those eighteen years.
I’m not saying children shouldn’t be given chores to do or expected to be responsible. And I’m not saying they should be babied and sheltered from anything and everything that causes them to ask questions and make choices. These things are all part of being a kid. What I am saying, though, is this: don’t allow (or expect) your kids to be older than they are. Don’t let them ‘add a bean to the pot’ before it’s time and throw their life off balance.
Take it from me—the years really do pass far too quickly. Your kids will be grown up and gone before you know it, so enjoy each moment and provide your kids with an environment that will allow them to do the same.