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The guilty pleasures of a NEV
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My spouse and I went skiing the other day. No big deal, right? Actually, we were gone for two days — two weekdays! And we left our girls at home to fend for themselves.

It was the second time this winter that we abandoned our children, the first time being a Wednesday in March. What a fantastic (if fleeting) feeling of freedom! We even witnessed this avalanche:

Avalanche cropped

This is the first winter we’ve taken time off during the week, when our kids are at school, to escape the daily routine. But believe me, it won’t be the last!

Irresponsible? I don’t think so…

Now, you may be thinking it’s irresponsible of us to strap on the boards when we should be at home taking care of our littlies. And I’ll have to admit I did feel a slight twinge of guilt as we headed out of town. After all, it was a workday!

Why this cavalier attitude?

It must be a reaction to the fact that my role as a parent is evolving despite my best efforts. I’m having to face up to the fact that no longer am I indispensable to my kids… no longer do they jump into my arms when I come home… no longer do they hang on my every word, be it wise or otherwise (the latter becoming increasingly common, to judge from their reaction)…

Alas, I’m quickly morphing into a NEV.

That’s because my kids are 19 and 16. Which means they need food, a roof over their heads, transportation (ideally, in the form of car keys and a full tank) and, from time to time, cold hard cash. But our shining presence? Hah! They’re delighted when we leave the house and, as soon as we get back, they ask when we plan to leave again!

So what’s a NEV?

Thinking back, I realize that my spouse and I have been NEVs before, but only for short periods. This time, however, it’s different. Our role as parents is changing fundamentally.

Our kids are starting to spread their wings, and they need space. At the same time, they still need us, though in different ways from when they were younger.

In other words, we’ve become a Necessary Evil, or NEV.

But you know what? I’m okay with it. I mean, that’s what I did to my parents, and I’d be concerned if my kids didn’t do likewise, in their own way.

I often mention during my workshops that our job as parents, while never finished, is to ensure that our kids develop a solid personal base by the time they finish high school. For instance, if we want them to become bilingual, we have to make sure they grow up with two languages. That means, among other things, enrolling them in the francophone education system.

We do everything we can to help our kids grow and prosper, and if all goes well, we end up becoming redundant — and rediscovering the freedom to pursue our own activities!

 
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