Life Preparedness Kit

My kids started math camp this week.  I know what you’re thinking, “what kind of person sends their kids to math camp?”  But hear me out.  Aside from the fact that my kids love it so far, it’s a great learning and growth opportunity for their mother and me, as well.  You see, they normally attend a small, private school, the kind where everybody knows everybody and you always feel like your kids are safe.  Well, this Math Enrichment Program (sounds a lot better than ‘math camp’, huh?) is not at their normal school.  And to our surprise–and as it turns out fear– there are 800 students in this darn program.  So, dropping our kids off at such a large school, with so many kids is a little nerve-racking.  To say the least!

But let’s put aside my issues– I mean emotions– for a minute.  The purpose of this post is to point out something that struck me as I was driving away after the first day of the program.  I’d just left my kids and felt a bit uneasy.  For them.  Never had they been thrust into such a situation.  What I might call a social overdose–meeting and having to fit in with a whole new group of kids–they seemed a bit overwhelmed.  As I was driving, I could still see my daughter’s face when I hugged and kissed her goodbye.  My hand was also still hurting, a result of my son not wanting to let go of the security blanket he sometimes calls “daddy”.

But I quickly got a hold of myself.  Those who know me best know I can get a little emotional, especially about the two most important things in my life- my children.  Like medicine, I told myself, they needed this.  Learning to fit in and to quickly adapt to new situations is one of the most important skills a person can develop.  Because I grew up an Army brat and had to do it all of the time, I take it for granted.  But seeing my kids in this precariously foreign situation reminded me how difficult that growing process can be.  And it got me thinking: what other things are critical to success in life.  What else would I put in my kids’ “Life Preparedness Kit”.  Here’s what I came up with:

  1. Learn to adapt to new situationsYou will start at a new school one day.  You will have a first day on the job (hopefully) several times.  And if you are lucky, you’ll be in many situations where you are being introduced to a new group of friends.  Learning and embracing the ability to adapt to these and other new situations is critical.
  2. Compete!I grew up playing sports, so maybe that’s where it comes from.  Or maybe it’s because my dad was (and still is) so adamant about giving your best at all times.  Whatever the reason, I firmly believe that success in life is based on your ability and desire to compete.  Not only with others in your life, but more importantly with yourself.
  3. Accept your warts– I’ll admit it.  I’m still working on this one myself, mostly because I take Rule #2 way too seriously.  But being comfortable in your own skin, accepting your imperfections as part of what makes you unique, is paramount to reaching for what you want in life without apologizing, something I call ‘The Audacity of Success‘.
  4. Accept responsibility for your future– I heard or read somewhere that happiness is a direct function of the amount of control one perceives he has over his life.  Living by an understanding that we ultimately get what we’ve earned and deserve is an empowering feeling, and a requirement for success in life.
  5. Share your giftsWe are all blessed with abilities and talents that are uniquely ours.  Discovering them is sometimes difficult.  Owning and accepting them can be even harder.  But possibly the most difficult part is sharing them with the world.  But that is exactly what God (or the universe if you are more spiritual than you are religious) expects of us.  Not sharing a gift that was given to us is akin to the pan handler whom you gave money for food wasting it on beer and cigarettes.  We have been given our gifts with the expectation of using them in the right manner.
That’s the first five tenets in this manual I’d put together.  I haven’t printed and bound this manual yet, so I’m open to suggested revisions, additions to, even subtractions from the list.  The important thing, though, is that I somehow instill into my children what I think will help them be successful.  Ultimately, of course, some of it will stick, some won’t.  They’ll apply some of daddy’s lessons and others they’ll think are a bunch of crap.  And at the end of it all, twenty or so years from now, they’ll share with their family their own “Life Preparedness Kit.”
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About bbluford
I am an executive finance professional with a love for process and application development (MS Access, Excel, Quickbooks), mostly as it relates to Accounting and Business Functions. I also love to write and share ideas with other people in this world. I'm an admitted Gym Rat who works out excessively. The best summation of me is that I love to teach and to learn.

10 Responses to Life Preparedness Kit

  1. Hannelore says:

    Bobby, very well said, and very true. I’m having my kids read this one today!! Thanks for sharing your gifts.

  2. Whoops, that’s Julie who commented above, not my daughter, Hanne…she still had her name up from yesterday’s comment 🙂

  3. kristen g. says:

    You …my little nerdy friend (Buffed, beautiful and built) – but still a nerd has entered the official world of “Tiger Daddy”!!! What is a Tiger dad……the same thing as a Tiger mom!!! Knowing you ….I’m sure you read the article about Tiger Moms….well….you are a Tiger dad and I am embarrassed to say….that I have officially moved into the the realm…of Tiger mom……… Signed…one of your biggest fans!!!

  4. bbluford says:

    I’m a Tiger CUB dad. These Tiger moms are crazy!
    http://n.pr/jyBDgm

  5. My strongest contention with the Tiger Mom/Tiger Dad thing is that pushing kids is fine some of the time, but they all deserve time to be bored, to be reflective, to make mistakes, to daydream. That is the danger of the “Tiger” mentality…the thought that kids are robotic, academic, and athletic sponges…and nothing else. Give a kid an afternoon off with no electronics and amazing things happen! 🙂

  6. bbluford says:

    So very true, Julie. I don’t remember having to have every minute of my day scheduled and “maximized” and I think I turned out okay.

  7. That’s wonderful Bro…We live in a time were everything is a routine. I believe children should step outside their comfort zone. Children grow stronger and see what amazing things they can do all on their own. I’m all for camps and extra activities for children.

  8. bbluford says:

    Yes. It’s a scary thing to watch them come into their own. I’m so tempted to help or save them, but most of the time hold back because I know they need to learn to walk through their life on their own. It chokes me up just thinking about it, but it’s one of the best things we can do for our kids, encourage them to be brave…all by themselves.

  9. Dolores says:

    Congrats on your and your kids growth! It’s never easy to step out of our comfort zones, but it’s typically well worth it. A lot of growth can come from entering into the “new” and I’m glad to see your little ones growing. 🙂 Hope you guys have a great summer. See you in the fall.

    ~Dolores

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