A Chinese philosopher is quoted as saying, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

It's been oft repeated over the past 2,000 years and has managed to be a successful and educating concept – until the very modern era. Now, we no longer teach this to our younger generations. Not only do we not teach our young people how to fish, we give them the fish, both figuratively and literally. We are sauteing a certified mercury free fish in a green pan that doesn't require oil; serving it over a bed of lightly steamed organic kale with gluten free quinoa with an acai bowl on the side; placed on an ergonomically appropriate table for eating; on a plate made by free trade craftswomen from some country I've never heard of in Southeast Asia.

I've seen a few things I find alarming on this topic recently. A friend shared a post from a UNH parent's page where a mom was asking if there is a "local service/cleaning/organizing person" she can hire her son because he has a "really high-pressure courseload this year AND is sick." She goes on to specify, "This isn't a typical cleaning job...he needs an organizer to fold his clothing/put stuff away." He's in college. The country calls him an adult. He is supposed to be qualified to fight foreign enemies in defense of his nation, but mom doesn't want him to having the stress of doing laundry? Let alone, putting it away and folding it? She says he lives in a single. No roommates, let him live in a pigsty and wear smelly clothes until he finds out how to function as grown up before you order him a "Mom-Away-From-Home." Unless this mom plans on funding a personal maid for him in perpetuity, most just-out-of-school jobs don't pay for such a luxury. Most jobs never do. He's going to have to multi-task through a lot of work and the sniffles many times in life. It's time he learned to do so or he never will.

A father of a 13-year-old boy recently posted his kids homework assignment on Facebook. The student is is supposed to write an amendment to the Constitution for his U.S. Government class. That's actually a pretty cool assignment. So, the dad took to social media to crowd-source "credible sources" on the chosen topic and "scientific research" references and "anything else that would be helpful." I had to wonder and try to remember my youth. How on earth did kids do research for homework before their parents got a Facebook account? We had to use the Dewey Decimal System to look for information. At least this generation has Google. Do they really need it any easier?

What is the result of the parental take-over of everything difficult or challenging in a kids life? The inability to function and succeed in the post helicopter-parent era of their lives.

I went to a fast food joint recently and my bill came to $8.01. I handed the clerk a $20 bill and a penny. She was stumped and left the penny on the counter and proceeded to gather the change for a $20. When she reached for coins, I told her she didn't need to do that, I rehanded her the penny and asked for $12 back. She looked at a co-worker who nodded to give me my 12 bucks. This was a girl of high school age and it was not a cognitive issue. It was not an educational issue. It was an inability to function with a curve ball issue. She had punched in $20 to the register and it told her exactly what to give me in return and she was unable to think independently without a computer to advise her or a co-worker to approve her action.

A few years ago I was running a campaign. I called a meeting with a junior staffer because he didn't complete a task assigned to him by a superior. It was pretty straightforward: go pick up signs from this town and bring them to that town. He informed me it wasn't properly explained to him why the task had to be done and why he was the one that had to do it. I told him it had to be done because his director told him to, but if he had asked why I'm sure it would've been explained. The 23 year old in his second job out of college started to tell me how ever since he graduated he's felt out of place and doesn't know where he belongs. I simply explained to him the requirements of the job and asked him if he could fulfill them. The next day his dad called to quit for him. Yes, dad called to quit for a college-educated full-blown adult.

These last two stories are what happens when you engage in the examples of the first two stories. We all want our kids to succeed, but the greatest future successes can be found in past failures that were overcome. If we don't allow that, if we do everything for our children we take away their ability to learn for themselves. We take away the idea of initiative. The more parents "help" their kids in this way, the more they harm their futures. Life isn't easy, that's a fact. But, that reality will be much harder for kids if they don't realize it until they are adults.

Alicia Preston is a former political consultant and member of the media. She’s a native of Hampton Beach where she lives with her family and three poodles. Write to her at PrestonPerspective@gmail.com.