Decision. You Get What You Get

51c1658de89f49bcd0c396926901d497I recently caught myself yelling at the television one night and was mortified by the rant that came out of my mouth. I have developed a love hate relationship with real estate and home improvement programming on DIRECTV. The majority of my day is spent immersed in varying degrees of real estate. I cannot explain why I feel compelled to spend my free time watching shows about real estate when I have the chance to take a break, but I do.

I witnessed a father, who appeared to be very close to my age, look at new homes for his two daughters and him to live in. They seemed like a perfectly normal family at first glance, but I quickly wondered if I had accidently turned on a show from a different planet. The girls, who were about the same age as my sons, were deciding which $800,000 home they wanted to buy. The dad was listening and it appeared that they were the decision makers. Pump the brakes. Surely, this was a joke right?

“WHAT THE HELL?!” Did they have jobs? What kind of drugs did they lace their father’s coffee with that morning? Did he need medical help? Clearly he was in distress. Except, he was not. I felt bad for the guy for many reasons but mostly because he relinquished one of the few essential perks that come along with reaching adulthood.

When I was young, there were many items high on my list of things to look forward to when I was a grown up. This list included the ability to decide important issues like when I would go to bed, what kind of car I would buy and what I foods I chose to eat for dinner. As a kid, it seemed that I had little say in much of anything. My peers and I shared this common thread in our coming up years.

As I type, I realize I am sounding more like cynical and bitter middle aged person than I care to admit. “Back when I was a kid…” Those of us who predated any of the letter generations can agree that as children we had little to no say in much of anything. Period. Actually, to be more accurate, my inclusion in the decisions that my parents made was non-existent.

My family moved a few times in my childhood. The first time I saw the homes was on move in day. My junior year in high school I came home to a sold sign on my front lawn and was informed that we were moving out of state. I cannot fathom a world where I would have been consulted, let alone deciding, which home my parents should buy like this man’s daughters were. In my opinion, adults abdicating their decision making power to children is a much bigger threat to our society than the legalization of same sex marriage or existence of Planned Parenthood.

Most of my peers will agree that we all eagerly awaited the day when adulthood would finally be ours and we no longer were subject to life under the perceived rule of others, especially parents. This was true freedom and for some reason this guy, and many others, missed the memo. Our goal was to be freed from the confines and oppression of our parents. Clearly the childhood quest to call the shots went terribly wrong in his life. From where I sat, it appeared that the natural order of things got disrupted in his home. I do not know what shifted, but I know that I see it happening not only on television but in real life.
My frustration has been slowly simmering for some time.

I have witnessed firsthand this trend in some of the buyers that have come my way in recent years. Children are determining whether or not the home is even considered by the parents. It is all I can do to just stand and smile while I listen to the exchanges that take place. When I purchased my last home, the sum total of my kid’s involvement was when they chose which room they wanted after the deal was done. Some may cringe when they hear that they did not have a say, but fear not. I do let them decide that it is time to change the channel when they grow tired of my yelling at the people on the television.

My kids can testify that I have made best use of the adult freedom I dreamed about as a child. However, some of us are allowing our kids to make all the decisions about vacations, activities, and even housing. Please stop the madness. It is ruining our world. Adults need to band together to reclaim the decision making power in their homes and remain vigilant to protect the right to use the phrase “because I said so” for future generations to come. The biggest losers in this situation are the kids themselves. Handing the keys to the decision making kingdom over to them at such a young age not only usurps our fun and authority, but also robs them of pure joy that becoming a full-fledged member of the “adulting” community brings. Let’s do it for the kids!