The Perfect Launch Formula for Raising Happy Adults
How to Successfully Launch Adult Children (or Die Trying)
By Lee Binz
You may be reading this article because you think I have all the answers and can bestow them on you. Well, you’re half right; I do have all the answers, but I’m not telling! Just kidding! I’ll tell you, but these truths and how they should be applied, need to be discovered by each family alone. I will give you the Perfect Launch Formula that experienced homeschool parents know all too well. From there, you will need to work out how it can help you succeed in your mission to raise happy and healthy adults!
Begin with the Perfect Launch Checklist
1. Sound Educational Choices
Home education allows you to match your child’s learning style with your family values. You can coordinate your child’s temperament with your own organizational and teaching abilities. More important than your curriculum choice, is controlling your sense of urgency. It’s so important to remember that education is not a race, and you don’t get a prize for being the first to the finish line. You’re not in a hurry, so you might as well enjoy the journey along the way.
2. Wholesome Home Life
A wholesome home life involves plenty of play, which means limiting the ubiquitous presence of technology. More pointedly, that means more face time with your child and less Facebook with your friends. A perfect launch requires a family to work together as a team, sharing the burden of household chores and educational responsibilities. A wholesome home life means avoiding swearing, name-calling, or belittling. It is encouraging to everyone, matching the goals and values within the home with mutual love and respect between all family members.
3. “Perfect” Parenting
The love you have for your child will ensure success, but being a perfect parent is impossible. Be patient, humble, forgiving, and extend grace. Confess your missteps, allowing others the freedom to confess as well. Be open to receiving advice and help from others. Parenting is about time – children spell love, "T-I-M-E." Create enough margin in your home and work lives so every member of the family gets face time with each parent. Spend time individually, with one child at a time, in open dialog.
4. Model Character Development
Of course, you want to speak words of instruction to your children, but 90% of character is learned by example. Parents must model consistency between their spoken values and behavior. If you want them to do their fair share, make sure you do yours. If you don't like what they watch on TV, what are you watching on TV? Homeschool at home, so you have the time and opportunity to shape and mold children’s behavior during the day. You are raising adults and encouraging them to become more civilized as they mature. Ignore this principle and you may end up with feral teens. Be a role model they can admire.
5. Faithful Religious Upbringing
Find the best fit for your children’s moral and religious support. Find a good church, dive deep into the Bible, demonstrate and explain daily devotion to God. Find a network that will meet your children’s needs. Your faith is already grounded while your child’s faith is still forming, so prioritize their spiritual needs. If you have an introverted child, find a youth group that will love them and not overwhelm them. If you have some budding intellectuals, make sure they have exposure to mature and knowledgeable church mentors to get their questions answered thoroughly. Spiritual and moral maturity requires more than just teaching the 10 Commandments and the facts of life. Provide sound Biblical instruction while demonstrating a love for God in your own life.
Chronology of the Perfect Launch
The Bible shows us the chronological progression of a perfect launch.
“Train up a child in the way he should go … and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” ~ Proverbs 22:6 (ellipses added)
Step 1. Parent’s Role
We are called to train up our children.
Step 2. Child’s Role
The child's role is in the ellipses … the implied pause in the middle. It is the indefinite time period when the young adult must work out for themselves everything that occurs between Step 1 and Step 3.
Step 3. God’s Role
God provides a promise that when they are old, your children will not depart from their training. Sadly, there are no hints about what “old” means – 18, 48, or 88 – we just don’t know. Experienced parents may know the heartbreak of waiting for their children to grow “old” and finally live in a way consistent with how they were raised. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but we aren’t even guaranteed it will happen in our lifetime. Sad, I know ...
Perfect Launch SMART Goals
You must develop smart goals for your homeschool to truly measure your success. You see, children have free will. During Step 2 of the chronology of their life, your child may take a circuitous route to responsibility and faith. All humans have free choice, even your child. Your child has the freedom to make stupid, bad, dangerous, and even sinful decisions, regardless of how much you love them, how much God loves them, or how much you pray. No parent is immune to experiencing their child’s sin nature. God, the perfect parent, still had to kick Adam and Eve out of the Garden for their sinfulness. The first human parents walked with God, and had a depth of understanding of God we can only dream of, yet their child was a murderer. We can’t measure our success by our children’s actions or beliefs. Each parent must measure success only by their own behavior.
Create SMART goals. SMART is an acronym for “Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.” Specific goals might involve the classes you plan or tasks you want to accomplish this year. Measurable goals might include a daily devotion with your children or time spent playing with them each day. Achievable goals can only be ones you can reasonably expect to accomplish. “I will always be caught up with my ironing” and other pie-in-the-sky goals are not achievable. Daily hugs and words of encouragement are achievable. Realistic goals adapt to your children’s needs and abilities. Don’t try to make your analytical, chess-loving child into a Charlotte Mason nature study loving child. Trust me on this one … timely goals should be able to be completed soon (e.g. this week, this month or this year), not just within our lifetime or our children’s lifetime. Your goals must be achievable by you, and under your control. As much as you might wish, your children will not always be under your control. They will grow up, and will make their own choices. Your success can be based only on your own behavior. Your adult child’s behavior is their responsibility.
I know this sounds foreign to newer parents who may enjoy a modicum of success controlling their little ones’ behavior. When a two year old misbehaves, a parent can pick him up and remove him from the situation. When a 12 year old misbehaves, a parent can send her to her room, or refuse transportation to fun events. But when a child is 18, or grown and gone, parents have no control over their behavior, beyond ordering the child to leave home. While your child is homeschooling, set realistic goals. Accept your human limitation of fatigue, but try your best. Like an athlete, leave it all on the playing field, and don’t hold back any effort to shape and mold your children while you can.
Perfect Launch Guarantee
As you’ve probably guessed by now, there is no guarantee of a successful launch. If your firstborn is successful, it is not because you chose to make them successful. Awesome parents have children with free will, just as faulty parents do. While there are no guarantees of our children's ultimate success in their world, there is one thing parents can hold certain:
We are guaranteed God's loving kindness for us, and also for our children.
God, as the perfect parent, allowed free will, even while knowing the consequences. The perfect parent had children who strayed. We can’t change our children’s launch into adulthood, for good or bad.
However, always remember, “The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29) and “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion on the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6). God is in charge of the ultimate outcomes.
We can only control our part of the Perfect Launch Formula. We can give our children the tools and information they need to make healthy, wholesome choices for the rest of their lives. We can provide the wisdom and discernment they need to make choices we can’t even imagine right now. Yet, we can’t control their future. Come to think of it, we can’t even control our own future!
Perfect Launch To-Do List
• Do your best.
• Pray hard.
• Love your child.
The Apostle Peter said it best:
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.” ~ 1 Peter 4:8.
Yes, love covers a multitude of sins and missteps along your homeschool path. It is your true Perfect Launch Formula.
Copyright © 2015 The HomeScholar LLC, www.HomeHighSchoolHelp.com. Text may be reprinted without permission if used in full, except for use in a book or other publication for rent or for sale. Reprint must include this copyright, bio (below), and the original URL link (https://HomeHighSchoolHelp.com/the-perfect-launch-formula-for-raising-happy-adults).
Lee Binz, The HomeScholar, specializes in helping parents homeschool high school. Get Lee's FREE Resource Guide "The 5 Biggest Mistakes Parents Make Homeschooling High School" and more freebies at www.HomeHighSchoolHelp.com.
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