Submitted by Mark Haselmaier
When I was younger, I got hungry after dinner a lot. So I would ask my dad for something to eat. Sometimes he would oblige, but he usually looked at me and said, “Go get a snack. You know how to make a peanut butter sandwich or toast a bagel.”
As I think back on those experiences, I remember realizing that I wasn't the only important person or thing in my parents' lives. I learned that they had other things that were important too, and I needed to become capable enough to handle some things on my own.
There was no “ah ha” moment or any great realization, but I slowly became aware that sometimes Mom and Dad shouldn’t be disturbed or needed to focus their mental bandwidth on other things. Sometimes I was their highest priority (like dinnertime, when we had something fun planned, or when I was sick). Other times somebody or something else or their work was a higher priority (like when I wanted a snack).
In the end, I learned that if I had the ability to handle something on my own, it was greatly appreciated and generally helped things run more smoothly around our house if I took care of it myself. This paid off when I was in college because I was able to manage most new situations on my own, and my "survival skills" especially came in handy when I moved to Sweden for one semester last year. Now I really like cooking and have progressed way beyond peanut butter sandwiches and toasted bagels. My current specialty is Peanut Butter Chicken Curry.