Backing Up the Trailer

When I was about 8 years old, my parents purchased their first boat. From that day forward, we were a boating family. Since we didn’t live on a lake, the boat lived on a trailer next to the garage.

When you own a boat on a trailer, an important part of a successful day of boating involves backing the boat into the water. For some boaters, backing up the trailer seems as natural as driving forward. However, others make many awkward attempts before they finally get their boat into the water next to the dock.

In my family, turning 15 and getting a driving permit meant it was time to start practicing backing up the boat with dad. That allowed us to take the boat out on our own when we turned 16. Over the years, I have had many opportunities to pull cargo trailers, RVs, and boats. I have always been thankful that my dad took the time help me develop this skill. I look forward to teaching Erin how to backup a trailer when she turns 15 (in 10 years).

As parents, we hope to raise children who are capable adults armed with the skills to successfully navigate the real world. An important part of that preparation involves teaching them real world skills. However, there are a few big reasons we don’t always equip our kids with important life skills.

First, its quicker and easier just to do things ourselves. It would have been much easier (and less stressful) for my dad to just back the trailer in himself every time.

Second, many of us show love to our children through serving and providing for them. From the time they were born, we have done countless things for them. We love doing those things even when our children are capable to start taking the wheel.

Third, we aren’t sure we can trust them. Letting go is hard for all of us as parents. My dad talks about when my older brother was 16, I was 13, and my younger brother was 11 and we would take the boat out for a day of waterskiing. I had my boaters safety license, so I could drive the boat while my 16-year-old brother was skiing. My dad said he would spend the day at work praying for us! Whatever the activity is, trusting our children to do it on their own is hard for us.

In spite of these obstacles, its crucial that we teach our children life skills. I would like to end with some thoughts of some skills that you can pass on to your children while they are still at home. Maybe its time for you to start teaching your kids these life skills.

-Using power tools
-Cooking meals
-Changing a tire on a car
-Checking out and paying a cashier
-Doing laundry
-Running the dishwasher
-Painting a room with you (they should probably at least 16 from my experience)
-Caring for a garden
-using jumper cables to start a car
-Researching and picking out your next tv
-Figuring out a good tip at a restaurant
-Grocery shopping or making the grocery list
-Calling to make an appointment – maybe dentist or RSVPing for a birthday party
-Setting the table for a special occasion
-Writing or emailing their own thank you notes after a b-day party
-Starting the grill
-Picking out a family Sunday afternoon activity
-Changing the furnace filter
-Pumping gas

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