Today was a snow day.

The tradition in our house on a snow day is to wake up late, hop into our man mobile (AKA: Mega Cab truck), brave the roads, and go out to breakfast. After breakfast, we come home and go sledding for the day. Today was no exception.

As usual, our kids were the only kids outside playing in our neighborhood. I stood back and took note. WHY are there so many kids rotting inside the house? It’s a snow day, meant for fun and building memories to last a lifetime. What are these kids’ parents doing? I know they are home. Most of the moms in the neighborhood don’t work. Days like today are meant for making men out of our children—dressing up in layers and braving the cold weather and blowing snow. Why wouldn’t kids be outside? It’s a rite of passage.

Rewind to yesterday.

The boy got a new skateboard grind rail that is higher and tougher than the other ones he’s had. The anticipation of this rail arriving was killing him, and as soon as he came home from school, he was right out to the garage to put it together (on his own). It was time to get serious—it was time to put his goals into action.

The transition to the new rail was throwing him for a loop. He kept falling and hurting himself. Things weren’t going as planned. After some time, he came back into the house and talked with me.

"Mom, I am so scared. Like really scared."

This sounded like defeat and fear guiding his actions. That’s not something that sits well in our house. I always defer judgment to determining if an activity is “safe” to The Big Guy, so crazy mom doesn’t restrict opportunities and goals. Mom’s job is to protect and nurture. Dad's job is to teach his kids how to be a man.

This scenario has played out many times, like the time The Boy was little and wanted to drop in on the half pipe. The Boy stood on the edge for what seemed like forever, unable to commit to dropping in. I sat on the side lines, close to tears and begging them both to stop. If The Boy wasn’t comfortable doing it, we should respect his judgment. I got the quick lecture that this is a goal of his and it will never get accomplished with me coddling The Boy. He needed to suck it up, be a man, and commit.

After forever and a day, and The Big Guy not letting up, The Boy dropped in. Later, he reported that the only reason he finally did it was because The Big Guy would have been disappointed and would have never let him live it down. After that, the half pipe was no big deal and we spent many, many days at the skate park so he could practice his new skill.

So back to the grind rail conversation... I know this routine well by now, and I also know as crazy mom that I am probably not the one who will convince him to suck it up and keep trying. I responded, "That's okay. Wait until Dad comes home. He will call you sissy and laugh at you, and then you will do it. Sound good?" The Boy laughed and agreed. Dad would make him suck it up and do it until he was successful.

Sure enough, when The Big Guy came home, he went right out to help The Boy with the rail. I peeked in to see how things were going. Once I heard, “I don’t care if you break your leg! Just do it!” I knew it was time to leave. I went back into the house and found random things to keep me busy and keep my mind off a pending trip to the ER.

The next thing I knew, The Boy runs into the house, yelling for me that he did it! He was so ecstatic and grateful that The Big Guy forced him to try it instead of letting him give up. Of course he did it. I expected nothing else.

People often talk about how kids from this generation are sissies—they sit inside and play video games all day and have no imagination. They don’t “do” anything and are fat and lazy.

The irony is that who and what this generation has become is a result of parents driving the sissification of these kids. Parents want to mitigate every potential risk for their children. They restrict what their kids can do and when they can do it, and they hover over any activities to ridiculous extremes.

There is a fine line between loving and supporting your kids and sucking every last bit of experimentation and freedom out of them. Parents constantly buy into the hysteria of potential dangers and risks that have less than one thousandth of a percent of ever happening to them. It’s time that we take control over our own fears and need for control. It's time that we lessen the restrictions, regulations, and demands we place on kids as we schedule every single aspect of their day.

Kids are kids and they need to live as kids. It may be uncomfortable for parents to let go of control in the name of safety, but we owe it to them. We owe it to every kid out there to learn how to become tough as nails, to gain independence, and to develop his/her own sense of judgment. It’s time to release the reigns a bit, feed our kids nails for breakfast, and teach them how to be men (or women).