Leaving teenagers home alone while you, their parents, go to Paris is truly an act of courage and trust. My husband and I decided to go to Paris in January of my eldest daughter’s senior year in high school. It was truly a “cheap” tour in so many ways and Clark had never been to Paris. We were pretty sure that our girls would not do anything stupid while we were gone and they promised that they would be angels.
Our flight was on a Saturday. We got to the airport the requisite 3 hours before the flight (and this was before 9/11 security). Our daughter took off and left us with luggage at the curb. While checking in we noticed that the flight was delayed. Then it was delayed again, and again. Finally, the airline (who will remain nameless) announced that we would not be leaving for 8 more hours. As a charter flight, the company was flying in from Tahiti and had picked up another tour to make just a little bit more money. So we had to wait until they ran that charter and got to us. Staying in the Oakland Airport was not going to be pleasant. Besides, we only lived 30 minutes from the airport.
We called our daughter to come get us. The call was very strange as she said she was on the way to pick up her sister and couldn’t get to us for at least an hour. We waited and she finally got there without her sister. Hum – odd? (Actually, she had been using the calling tree to cancel the plans and hid the beverages / food.) At home, we noticed that the furniture had been moved to clear the center of the living room. I decided to sleep on the couch.
The parents of one of her friends knocked at the door looking for their daughter who was allegedly staying the night, which, of course, was not ok with us being out of town. Her daughter was definitely not at the house nor had she been. That was the first firm confirmation that a party was planned for our house and that we had ruined the fun.
What to do? We couldn’t cancel the tour without losing the entire payment. We confronted the girls with what we knew, how we felt, and what the plan was for the next week while we were gone. They were to have an adult chaperone! There was much weeping and gnashing of teeth but they agreed they had blown our trust in them. It was a long time before we went away again and left them home alone. It also caused us to check on any “parties” they were invited to to make sure the parents were home. We caught most but, I am sure, not all. Children can be devious and you got to love them for taking a leadership stand.
Learning to trust the people you love and knowing that they will rise to the occasion to be phenomenal is a skill to be learned and practiced. I had it in spades while in Paris and learned to let go of the outcome I could not control. How about you?
Something else I have learned as a business woman is to ask for what you want. If you loved what you just read, this content is not for free. As a form of payment, I am asking you simply to comment or share this on Facebook or tweet about it on Twitter.
Linda Patten, MBA, BSN, RN has over 30 years of experience leading women to success in building and achieving their dreams. She turns networking marketing women from product sellers to leaders of highly functioning teams. To learn more about her innovative programs, click on Contact Us.