“I’d like to speak to the coordinator.”
“My son wants to know how he can make-up a missed exam. He has to go to the islands for his sister’s wedding.”
“Where’s your son?”
“How old is he?”
“Who are you?”
“I can’t answer that question because it would be illegal. He’s a grown man. I can’t violate a grown-man’s privacy. It’s the law. I can’t talk to you without his consent. And you’ll be an accomplice.”
“Oh my!! I can get him on the phone to consent.”
“No. I can’t tell who he is over the phone. I need to see him in person with ID.”
This is a true story. I’m not making it up. What’s worse is it wasn’t isolated. It happened repeatedly. With different people. Hundreds of times. Maybe thousands. Parents acting as agents/bodyguards for adult-children, the social oxymoron that drove me to starting my own business.
The adult-child is a post-modern creature. S/he has passed the age of majority. They can vote, they can drink, they can breed, but they can’t make the day-to-day adult decisions or do the day-to-day adult responsibilities to survive in the real-life adult world. I could write a book on each case. A series. Legal-aged adults who won’t grow up intellectually or emotionally.
I was a college law enforcement professor for 20 years, 13 as program coordinator. I was blessed to teach and mentor some committed students who spilled their guts to do their very best, but for the most part, I felt like a day-care coordinator. I suffered from Culture Shock. I’m not a dinosaur. I’m not ancient. But I felt like I had entered a new dimension, a bizarro world where nothing made sense. I come from an era where you would have had to move to a different county if your mother or father called anyone on your behalf at anytime, let alone college. I got hired as a police officer 93 days after my 18th birthday. I’ve coached and taught and arrested thousands of 18 year olds which makes me wonder what they were thinking when they gave an 18 year & 93 day-old rookie a uniform.
The smartest move I ever made was leaving my college job and becoming a full-time business owner. I signed up to teach college wannabe cops, not elementary school. The number of adult-children kept growing. The number of parent phone calls got out of control. I found myself working in an artificial, insular world. A world of make-believe. I never caved it. Kept trying to change it. But I had a revelation – life is too short to waste time and effort on a fight that’s not on a balanced playing field. How can you make an impact on hundreds of 22 year-olds who will continue to get spoiled by the rest of the influences in their lives? How can you develop potential when what you build gets unraveled the moment they go home?
Life is full of defining moments. I had one 2 years ago that opened my eyes. The curtain went up. I walked away at the top of my game. In my prime. Enrolment quadrupled, big salary, benefits, titles, prestige but I felt my soul rotting. I was killing my brain cells dealing with the same mind-numbing juvenile adolescence day in, day out.
Becoming a full-time business owner changed my life. Transformed it. Starting a business from scratch is the hardest job I’ve done but it’s worth it. Business Darwinism is a day-to-day struggle that crushes the weak. But it’s worth it. Owning a business is the biggest risk you can take – you can lose everything. But it’s worth it. Business can make you or break you. But it’s worth it. Because you’re in full control of your life, your potential, your destiny. Because it’s real-life. Because the challenge make you feel alive.
My morbid curiosity still is searching for answers. When did the coddling get out of hand? When did our adults take spoiling of adult-children to the next level? What year did it start? What was the date? What was the turning point? Did one single event cause it? Or was it a series of events? If you have any answers, please share. My morbid curiosity would like any theories.