Monday, November 26, 2007

Starting Your Own Life

Everyone feels it. The drive, as you get older to move out from under your parents' control and get out on your own. Maybe even the desire to leave your whole life behind and go to college hours away. Even if you don't move to a different state as soon as you turn 18, everyone feels the desire to venture out on their own, even if just in a decision making way.

But what exactly does that mean? Where do you draw the line between starting your own life and snubbing your family? 'Cause most of us don't want to do that. We all want to move out on our own and start making our own decisions, traditions, and what have you, but how do we do that without offending families?

I've talked to a number of newly married couples that struggle to find that balance. On the one hand, extended families can tend to be stubborn and insistent on what they want, but on the other hand, is newly married folks, or college students, or whoever can often be difficult and demand our own thing just because we can.

No other time brings this challenge to a head that the holidays. For the newlyweds, they have two sets of families wanting the couple to join in their traditions. For the students or singles, its their parents urging them to come home for Christmas. And, of course, there's nothing at all wrong with families wanting to spend time with their adult children. But there's also nothing wrong with the children wanting to do something different for the holidays.

Its a very hard balance to reach. And I'm positive that attitudes on both sides are not always the most forgiving. But what do you do?

And what about bigger life decisions? What if the newlyweds decide to homeschool their children despite their in-laws fervent dislike for it? How can that couple, who genuinely believe it's the right thing to do, continue on without appearing to spite the in-laws? What if a student wants to move three time zones away from his family even though he knows they hate the idea? How can he make the move without seeming like he wants to escape or be done with his family?

It's a delicate issue. One that, I'm sure, people have been dealing with for hundreds of years. Is there an answer to it? I don't know. What do you think?


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