The Gift of Independence

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”

I am where I am today because my parents let me lead the way to the milk store fifteen minutes away from our house, so that by the time I was ten, I could go there on my own. I am comfortable in my ability to travel because my parents always made my brother and I walk in front of them through every terminal so that by twelve, they had enough confidence in me to let me fly alone, unaccompanied, to visit friends in a neighboring state. I felt no qualms about leaving to backpack through South America alone at eighteen because my parents had prepared me by showing me through their examples – from how to do my homework to how to run the dishwasher – before expecting me to compete these tasks by myself. If I ever needed help, of course I could ask for it, and if I ever felt scared, of course it wasn’t forced, but by expecting me to do certain tasks by myself when they felt they had given me the necessary tools, I was able become the self-reliant and independent person I am today.

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