She was also anything but a helicopter parent. My first grade teacher was my mother's first cousin so there was no coming home and complaining about the teacher.
Teachers had a special status in the fifties and it could best be summed up by saying they were nearly infallible. That is not to say that all teachers were perfect. However, part of going to school was surviving the teachers that you got and I learned that early.
Mother who had at a very early age learned to survive in the world seemed to know that the best way to thrive in the world is to get out and learn from it. She was always there to help but that sometimes meant she was going to push you right back out into the mess that you could not solve the first time.
Mother also believed that you had to learn how to fight your own battles. I remember her telling me more than once that I should never start a fight, but if I ended up in one to make sure I fought to win.
I can remember a little help on my homework in the first and second grade, but a couple of years after that I was balancing the checkbook for mother's beauty shop. Mother was a huge fan of going places, but she never cared much for maps so I became the navigator at a very early age. We would take off in her old 52 Ford and I would guide us to whatever destination struck her fancy. I feel fortunate that I grew up with a love of the North Carolina coast because of the many summer vacations we enjoyed here.
I recently read a Washington Post article about helicopter parents moving beyond schools and becoming involved in job interviews and even complaining to bosses about performance reviews and salary increases.
I certainly helped my children with their first résumés but the idea of going to a job interview with them is well beyond what I consider appropriate for parental help. I remember giving my daughter some Hyatt reward points so she could go to her first interviews right out of college without spending a fortune. I still remember my son who got his first layoff package as he graduated from college refusing to even utilize my contacts to get a job interview. At least he was not so stubborn that he refused his sister's contacts or her offer of a place to stay.
We have always told our children that home is the place that you are always welcome no matter what. While we might not be in a position to solve every challenge that they might confront in their adult life, we will pitch in and help them figure out what will work for them.
We already ask advice from them on many things and value their opinions. They help us and we hope to continue helping them. I like to think the title of the post says it all, "The World Is Yours, We Have Your Back." Like my mother, we are not going to fight their battles but we will be here to offer advice, support, and whatever they need if a particular turn of events does not go so well.
If you look closely in the post picture, you will see a helicopter. Neither Glenda nor I will be piloting or riding in one of those. However, if one of the children's kayaks gets stuck in the river on the way to paradise, I will help them get back to the dock so they can make another try at it.