Failure to Launch

I recently heard a story about a flock of mallard ducks who lived on a big farm and were overfed by their landowner.  They got so comfortable on the farm that they lost the urge to fly away. Instead of experiencing the fullness of how God made them to be, they became sitting ducks instead of flying ones. As a parent, we could be doing the same to our children if we’re not careful.

By now, you’ve probably seen the story in the news about the 30 year old man from New York who was being evicted by his parents because he refused to move out.  He asked the court to dismiss the case saying the 2 week notice with the $1100 bonus wasn’t enough. He needed 6 months.  Well, Michael Rotundo lost his case, and the judge sided with the parents. This sad reality reminds me of the 2006 movie, Failure to Launch with Matthew McConaughey and Sarah Jessica Parker. In the movie, Tripp, a 35 year old professional, is content in living with his parents and letting his mom wait on him hand a foot. His parents finally decide to hire a professional to trick him into leaving.

It’s a funny movie but a sad and prevalent premise in so many homes today. Before throwing the adult son under the bus, I think his parents need to look in the mirror. Listen to what 30 year old Michael Rotundo said about his last eight years at home. In court proceedings, Michael stated that “he was never expected to contribute to household expenses, or assist with chores, or maintain the premises. He stated that this was simply a component of his living agreement.”

Are you kidding me? Are you telling me that since the age of 22, this young man was never expected to pay for anything or contribute to the household in anyway? Shame on his parents! This reminds me of the overfed ducks. Why fly away when things are so comfy and easy at home?

Mom and dad, it is not love when you give your children everything their hearts desire. When you “overfeed your young”, you stifle their urge to soar on their own. Our job as parents is to help them develop wings to fly on their own encouraging them to be all that God created them to be. I’m not saying this 30 year old from New York shouldn’t be evicted, but shame on his mom and dad! Why do you think teens today are delaying getting their license, moving out of the house, or getting a job? Because whether they realize it or not, parents are communicating to their children-I’ll take care of it! That’s not love, that’s enabling!. The day I turned 16, I was at the BMV getting my license. I could not wait to have that freedom. Besides, my mom refused to be my chauffeur anymore.

Nowadays, I hear stories all the time about graduating seniors without a license, a job, or any kind of plan for their future. I’m not saying an 18 year old has to know what they want to do with the rest of their life, but they need to be working toward independence. I’m not saying every undecided graduate needs to go out and get a $50,000 college loan either, but they need to start developing those wings to fly.  We don’t do our teen and young adult children any favors letting them sleep on the basement couch without a plan, playing video games, and eating out of our fridge. We just don’t. They want a cell phone? They need a job to pay for it. They want a car to drive? Offer to match whatever they save to purchase one they can afford. They don’t want to go to college? Then they need to find a full time job, so they can move out on their own. Don’t get me started. I could go on all day.

Are you worried that you may be “overfeeding your ducklings” and not helping them develop wings to fly? Maybe you disagree with me. That's OK.  I’d love to continue the discussion and have you join me for a 6 week series beginning June 6 from 6-7pm called Healthy Boundaries. Find freedom in your YES and NO. Learn what it takes to set healthy limits for your children, spouse, coworker, or friends. It’s a free class offered at Whitewater Crossing’s Life Center and we’d love to have you join us. You can email me at to reserve your spot or go to to sign up online.  If you don’t live in the area or can’t make it June 6, then I’d highly recommend the book Boundaries by Drs Cloud and Townsend. It addresses many of these same topics and is an important book to have in your tool box.

Dear Heavenly Father, be with all our young ones especially our seniors graduating this month. Give them wings to fly. Help them to put their trust in the only unshakable foundation their is, and that is YOU! Surround them with adults that will help them soar and become all that You created them to be! In your name I pray, Amen.

man on couch.jpg