07/17/2013 04:00 pm ET Updated Sep 16, 2013

You Need a License For That!


Have you ever stopped to think about the need for a license to do almost anything noteworthy? You need a license to drive a car. At age 21, that license can allow you to legally drink alcohol. You need a license to get married. You need a license to practice law, medicine; to hold educational positions. A liquor license is required to serve alcohol in a place of business. You even need a license to own a pet. Even your car needs a license. Evidently, there are responsibilities and obligations associated with obtaining a license.

I agree with the need to be prepared for responsibility and the need to prove your worth. But, have we missed a pretty critical responsibility that warrants no license what-so-ever? What about raising a child? What about being a parent?

Now, I am not in favor of any more governmental red tape often associated with obtaining licenses. But, I am in favor of some perspective. I am in favor of pausing to think about the concept of parenting.

I will never forget the first days my wife and I spent with our new son. We are both educators and we read all the literature available about HAVING a child. But then that faithful day came when it was time to take our new baby home. We looked at each other and questioned whether one of these nurses was coming with us. When we drove away from the hospital my wife and I both felt a pang of panic. What if our baby decides to stop eating? What if he stops breathing? What if he gets a cold? We had so many questions.

Fortunately for us, both our parents are very supportive. They stayed with us for awhile, but eventually it was time for us to take over the role of parent. At this point we were in full panic mode. Two young adults, 24- and 28-years-old, with a 3-day-old baby and everyone was gone. Why did we have to spend four years in college to learn how to teach our students, but we were not required to take even one class on how to raise our child? We didn't need a certificate, a degree, or any kind of license to have this child. Should we have? I am not sure, but it does make you think.

There has always been "chatter" about the need for parenting classes. Perhaps the answer to our problem lies in the advancement of technology. I found an excellent site on the Internet entitled, Priceless Parenting: Respond to your Kids in Ways that are Truly Helpful not Harmful. It includes topics such as:

Responding to misbehavior without spanking or yelling.
Encouraging respectful, responsible behavior.
Guiding your teen towards making wise decisions.
Making a smooth transition from high school to college.

I thought these were excellent titles, touching on those milestone moments from birth to "flight from home." It is also available at one's fingertip through technology. All of us could use this kind of support when making those difficult decisions that help to structure the very essence of our children's personalities and dispositions. It is hard enough for grown adults to tackle this auspicious task of raising children, but now we have the new global epidemic of "children having children." We absolutely need a support forum for these children to handle raising the very children that will be a part of our future.

Let's take a minute and reflect on what we can do for our future parents.