Crossroads of Independence and Determination

My older son had pestered asked us to camp out in the backyard for several weeks.  We finally decided that if he pitched his own tent and cleaned up, then he could.  The next battle discussion point was where to set up the tent.

His desired location:  in a cluster of trees out of sight of the house (where, by the way, he saw a large animal that scared the wits out of him early in the summer.  In talking to neighbors, we think it could’ve been a bear.)

Our preferred location: in a clearing next to the house, close enough to our bedroom that we could hear them.

My son continued to present his case for independence, and we continued to explain our position.  Finally, we made our last offer (a take-it-or-leave-it deal):  camp in the clearing next to the house or don’t camp at all.

He took our offer without further negotiation (that's a first :))
He took our offer without further negotiation (that’s a first!)

At his age, independence is limited, but determination is not.  I remember when I knew I could accomplish anything because I had the will and fire to make my dreams happen.  Yes, this is past tense.  This observation made me wonder exactly when I succumbed to complacency and accepted my full adulthood independence without the determination to reach for more.

My inner voice is eager to point out that so many people reach for the same dream, that they are more flexible than me.  They are better than me.  My inner voice is plugged into my well of determination and has pretty much bled it dry.

My son put up his tent, with a little muscle from his dad to pound in three of the stakes.  I gave my boy a hug and gushed about how proud I was of him.

“Mo-om,” he groaned as he pushed me away.

I smiled, because I’ve learned what the two syllable “Mom” really means:  “Yeah, I love you too, but please get away from me you emotional freak – it could be contagious!”

As for my inner voice, it can shut up and leave me alone.  Failure is guaranteed if I let it yammer on at me.

Update:  When the inky darkness descended and he couldn’t see his hand in front of his face, my son decided he’d rather sleep inside. (But he wasn’t scared, he assured me.)  Even though good sense tempered his enthusiasm, he’s still inspired me to rekindle my own determination.


This is not part of Darlene’s Story that I’ve been writing with Trifecta weekly prompts.  In fact, this isn’t a Trifecta post at all…I wasn’t “feeling” the prompt today, so I did my own thing.

Edit:  After I posted this, I ran across the Speakeasy/Yeah Write challenges while reading Suzanne’s (awesome) blog.  I read about the two challenges – Speakeasy is fiction, and Yeah Write is non-fiction/personal essay.  I reviewed the submission guidelines and I think this qualifies for Yeah Write, so I’m going to gag my inner voice link up and give it a shot.  Click on the badge/link below to check out other submissions (or give it a try yourself).


42 thoughts on “Crossroads of Independence and Determination

  1. Catherine Johnson September 30, 2013 / 8:04 AM

    That is so awesome! My son is going on a Hogwarts camp with Cubs soon I’m so happy for him first time camping properly. Altogether now let’s bend 🙂

    • jannatwrites October 1, 2013 / 12:37 AM

      I bet he will have a wonderful time, Catherine! I think Scouts can be good for boys to develop outdoors skills. The boys do seem to bond over the activities.

  2. philosophermouseofthehedge September 30, 2013 / 8:37 AM

    “At his age, independence is limited, but determination is not.” Perfect snapshot of childhood.
    Good mom. Good mom (and that last line is also perfect)

    • jannatwrites October 1, 2013 / 12:38 AM

      Aw, thanks, Phil! Not sure about the ‘good mom’ part sometimes, but I do my best (and hope he won’t need therapy when he grows up :))

  3. vishalbheeroo September 30, 2013 / 12:09 PM

    The best thing about kids is that they have no doubts and do not hesitate in exploring. We, adults, should learn how to remove fears and doubts:)

    • jannatwrites October 1, 2013 / 12:39 AM

      I agree, Vishal! It seems the weight of responsibilities crushes determination. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. nrhatch September 30, 2013 / 3:32 PM

    I’m glad you discouraged him from becoming food for the bears . . . 😛

    That clearing looks like a great campground. I used to love camping out in the backyard. Sometimes in a tent, sometimes not.

    And as for you, Mo~om, . . . be determined to enjoy all you do.

    • jannatwrites October 1, 2013 / 12:40 AM

      Well, seeing how fearless the elk are now, I may have to rethink camping in the yard at all 🙂 Somehow I bet it wouldn’t be much fun if I slept in the tent with them!

  5. pattisj September 30, 2013 / 4:43 PM

    I’m glad he got to stay out there as long as he wanted. Wise mom, in light of “large animals.”

    • jannatwrites October 1, 2013 / 12:42 AM

      I had accepted him sleeping outside, but was a bit relieved when he decided to stay inside. Maybe next year, Patti!

  6. Michael56j October 1, 2013 / 2:56 AM

    It’s so hard to let go without letting go totally. I like the balance here.

    • jannatwrites October 1, 2013 / 7:50 PM

      Thanks, Michael. The urge is to hang on and protect, but I know that isn’t best 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  7. zoe October 1, 2013 / 6:07 AM

    nicely written. We all need the determination of youth… I think your kiddo may have helped me with my conundrum this week. (Wrote it up for Yeah Write too!) Thank him for me!

    • jannatwrites October 1, 2013 / 7:51 PM

      I’m glad this may have helped you, Zoe. I read your post about your writing – putting ourselves out there is the scariest thing, but we have to have determination!

  8. Debbie October 1, 2013 / 8:39 AM

    What a great story, Janna! I’m glad your son tried camping yet felt comfortable enough to march back inside when darkness enveloped him. Well done, Mom — little steps toward independence are always better (for parents and their kids) than just letting your offspring reach some magical age and throwing them to the wind!

    • jannatwrites October 1, 2013 / 7:53 PM

      Thanks, Debbie! At least he got practice setting up and putting away the tent. I certainly slept better with him inside, but when he’s ready to try it again, I’ll let him 🙂

    • jannatwrites October 1, 2013 / 7:54 PM

      Thanks, Kristin! I’m enjoying reading the Yeah Write responses 🙂

    • jannatwrites October 1, 2013 / 7:55 PM

      There’s something to be said for the comforts of home, Joseph. But, I do like weekend camping trips, preferably in a trailer rather than a tent 🙂

  9. Tina October 2, 2013 / 5:16 AM

    My dad would have been outside the tent in the dark, to make scary noises. I enjoyed this slice of life from you. Don’t let that inner voice tell you what to do!

    • jannatwrites October 2, 2013 / 8:58 PM

      That would be funny, Tina! My older son could handle the noises, but it would scare my younger son too much. Thanks for reading!

  10. Jennifer October 2, 2013 / 9:17 AM

    At least he tried. And taught you a lesson. Kids do that sometimes.

    • jannatwrites October 2, 2013 / 8:58 PM

      They teach me more lessons than I ever knew I had to learn, Jennifer 🙂

  11. Lance October 2, 2013 / 1:18 PM

    You’ll laugh at this but of my house – me, wife and 3 daughters, I’m the only one that hates camping/outdoors stuff. I mean I like walking, running, climbing, and fishing, but at the end of the day I need a bed and cable tv.

    good for him, though

    • jannatwrites October 2, 2013 / 9:01 PM

      That’s too funny, Lance. We’re a little spoiled – we usually go camping in our pop-up trailer. It doesn’t have a bathroom, but it does have a heater 🙂 Oh, and some of the campground hosts have satellite TV, so it can be done, haha!

  12. Linda Roy October 2, 2013 / 1:52 PM

    Sounds like fun! I want to go camping with my boys but my husband’s not to keen on it.

    • jannatwrites October 2, 2013 / 9:02 PM

      I like my comforts of home as much as the next person, but there’s nothing like a few days in the forest. (And there’s nothing more wonderful than a bubble bath when I get home :)) Thanks for stopping by, Linda!

  13. Jamie@SouthMainMuse October 2, 2013 / 3:11 PM

    “At his age, independence is limited, but determination is not.” Awesome. Awesome sentence. You are very wise. And express yourself with the written word perfectly.

    • jannatwrites October 2, 2013 / 9:08 PM

      Thanks so much for taking time to read and leave a comment, Jamie! I appreciate your kind words. There are so many moments with the kids that make me stop and think (and sometimes write a blog post :))

  14. Carol Ann Hoel October 2, 2013 / 9:43 PM

    You are a good mom, Janna. Blessings to you…

    • jannatwrites October 3, 2013 / 9:57 PM

      Thanks, Carol Ann. I make plenty of mistakes, but hope the majority of time I do okay 🙂

  15. Michael October 3, 2013 / 4:40 AM

    I went tent camping with a church youth group once when I was a kid. Raccoons ate the chili, and the girls’ pup tent fell over. Fun times.

    • jannatwrites October 3, 2013 / 10:00 PM

      I wonder if the raccoons ended up with the worst tummy aches ever. (Only my mind would go there…)

      Sometimes camping can seem like one disaster after another, but other times, even when it isn’t perfect, it’s truly beautiful.

  16. nataliedeyoung October 3, 2013 / 8:51 AM

    I would have loved to camp in my backyard as a kid, but we didn’t have that kind of yard. You’re a good mama.

    • jannatwrites October 3, 2013 / 10:03 PM

      They camped out in our old backyard, but it was never that dark because there were so many houses around us with patio lights left on. Maybe next year he will try it again! Thanks for stopping by to read this, Natalie 🙂

  17. bethteliho October 3, 2013 / 10:02 AM

    Great post, loved it because we have this conversation at my house A LOT! I have 2 boys and they are always wanting to camp in the backyard. My oldest almost always ends up inside. Then my husband, feeling bad for my slumbering 6yo, ends up sleeping in the tent so the little one doesn’t wake up alone! haha! My favorite part? SMORES. LIKE A BOSS.

    • jannatwrites October 3, 2013 / 10:05 PM

      Oh, if our older son came back inside, one of us would have to stay in the tent, too. Our younger son gets scared easily and he would absolutely freak out! Smores? I’m with you on that one – love the ooey, gooey, marshmallow-y, chocolatey yumminess 🙂

  18. cynkingfeeling October 3, 2013 / 11:58 AM

    I, too, have wondered “exactly when I succumbed to complacency and accepted my full adulthood independence without the determination to reach for more.”
    Great little story.

    • jannatwrites October 3, 2013 / 10:06 PM

      I’m glad I’m not the only one that has experienced that, Cynkingfeeling. Recognizing it is good motivation to scrounge up some determination, though 🙂

  19. Eric Alagan October 4, 2013 / 5:26 AM

    If it was a bear – spending the night out of sight is not a wise move. Clever boy – quit while he was ahead, so to speak.


    • jannatwrites October 4, 2013 / 9:10 PM

      I guess it’s better than quitting before he lost his head 🙂 Thanks for reading and sharing your comment, Eric!

Got an opinion? Share it!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s