Have you ever thrown a life line to someone? Have you ever needed a life line? I needed one today. I was on the floor but I had not fallen. I was hugging the commode at the public library. I thought it was a simple visit to the restroom when face flushing, cold sweat and nausea suddenly hit full force. Then the vomiting commenced. I had succumbed to food poison. Fortunately, I had my cell phone on me. I called my husband to ask him to come into the ladies restroom to help me get up, out to the car, and go home. A couple of hours later I was totally fine.
We generally think of lifelines as being used only by boaters or the elderly to assist them when they have” fallen and can’t get up” or have some other medical emergency. Sometimes we need to be a lifeline for our children. We need to be available and willing to bail them out of a rough situation.
Our eldest son was fourteen or fifteen years old when he stayed overnight at a friend’s home. This friend had numerous siblings including a couple of very cute teenage sisters. About bedtime one of the siblings asked another if they had seen the pet ball python, which was not in its aquarium. No. No one knew its whereabouts. No one seemed too concerned either, except our son who was afraid of snakes and was awake most of the night in his sleeping bag on the floor. He decided it was better to stay than for his friend and his sisters to discover his fear.
I wish he had called home. A couple of years later we obtained an 800 number connected to our home phone, for which we paid a small monthly fee. This enabled our children to call us from anywhere. We often told them that if they ever felt they were in a dangerous or uncomfortable situation, they could call home at any time around the clock and we would arrive to come to their aid.
Many homes do not have landlines. Most adults, teens, and some children have cell phones. If your child does not have a cell phone, probably their friends do. They just need to understand that you genuinely will not mind an interruption to rescue them any time day or night.
As children enter their upper teens and early twenties, parents should not have the same rescuer role. Remember a parent’s goal is to raise an independent adult. Independent adults should be making wiser decisions and facing the consequences when they fail to do so. This can be very difficult for parents, but very necessary for the children. Help your children to grow up. When they are twenty do not take care of them in the same way you did when they were twelve or fifteen. Gradually they need to become more and more independent and less and less dependent on parents.
A few months ago I spent a weekend with our adult daughter, who lives 200miles away. I was there to assist her as she had her four wisdom teeth pulled. She needed a lifeline and I was willing and happy to give her some physical assistance for a couple of days. I didn’t mind assisting her and felt like my help was appropriate and healthy. Each of our children are independent people and responsible for their lives, for which I am thankful. They seldom need lifelines from us. But as a family we are willing to throw each other a lifeline when needed. I surely needed one while in the library restroom.