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Josh Ward:

I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed at the end of a workday when this headline caught my attention: “7 Crippling Parenting Behaviors That Keep Children From Growing Into Leaders.” Here are the seven things that Forbes contributor Kathy Caprino said cripple children:

1.) We don’t let children experience risk.

2.) We rescue too quickly.

3.) We rave too easily.

4.) We let guilt get in the way of leading well.

5.) We don’t share our past mistakes.

6.) We mistake intelligence, giftedness and influence for maturity.

7.) We don’t practice what we preach.

I’m always looking at how to improve my leadership skills, but I was intrigued to see how my parents matched up to the Forbes article. I think it’s important for children to take a look and see how their parents measure up. I wanted to make sure that my parents were, well, being parents.

Even though I’m 20 years old and no longer a child, I discovered my parents are carrying out these seven guidelines, whether they know it or not.

Graduating this past semester with my associate’s degree, my parents wanted me to seek out higher education on my own; basically, they wanted me to do the grunt work. I aspired, reached and was accepted into all six schools that I applied for. One of them was New York University, and because that was my dream school, I pushed to attend there. Ultimately, I was not able to afford NYU – or the other five schools.

As the new year started, I still hadn’t applied to local schools, but once I finally did, time had run out. As a result, I’m not going to school this semester.

My parents didn’t come to my rescue. They didn’t step in and say that it wasn’t a good idea. They didn’t say that I wasn’t allowed to not chase after my dreams.

It seems as though some parents hand everything to their children, while others simply can’t afford to. I was hoping I’d be in the more fortunate group.

While my parents didn’t come sweeping in to live my life for me, here’s what they did say:

“Have you considered the amount of debt you’ll be in?”

“Is this the exact program you want?”

“You have a degree; you are still marketable. Don’t discount that.”

“You need to make your education your own.”

“We are a living example of student loan debt. It’s not fun.”

“How are you going to afford your insurance and phone?”

“Find what you love and a way to get paid for it.”

While I’m not proud of myself for not initially applying to a local college, it’s been a learning experience. I’ve learned about life, myself and how I need to better handle things. But if I hadn’t had parents who were there to seek advice from, gleaning from their past incidences, would I be better off than I am now? I’m not sure.

What I do know is that if parents want to better their children, sometimes they need to let them struggle, fight for what they want and maybe even see them fail. While getting into NYU was no easy feat, I still need to remember that I was accepted.

So thank you, Mom and Dad, for letting me experience risk. It wasn’t easy or fun, but it was necessary. Because now I am able to appreciate your ability to guide me, not merely spoil me.