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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Let 'em go... let 'em grow

These pictures were taken at a Webelos Resident Camp that my son and I recently attended.  (No, they are not of my son.) They demonstrate a trend that is manifesting itself in the lives of parents across the country.  Parents are afraid to just let go.  They are afraid to let their children fail.  In the pictures above, Jeremy (not his real name) has been given the opportunity to scale to the top of a climbing tower.  Prior to this, several Scouts had successfully made it to the top.  Then, it was Jeremy's turn.  At first try, he was unable to get his foot on the first peg to propel himself up the wall.  After floundering for a bit, his stepmother jumped in to help.  She tried lifting him, she tried giving him a leg up, she tried everything she could to get the boy to climb the wall.  Sadly, nothing helped.  In the second picture, notice that Jeremy is just hanging there.  His stepmother has stepped away.  Rather than lift him up, as some of the leaders requested, the climbing instructor is letting him hang.  Jeremy is far enough off the ground so that, if he really wanted to, he could get a firm grip and begin to climb.  But, the instructor won't do the work for him.

That's how it should be.  If, as parents, we continually do the hard stuff for our children, how will they ever learn?  How will they grow stronger in their abilities, and more certain in their strengths?  We can't hold their hands forever.  We have to let them either climb or fail.  If not, they will never go anywhere.  So, stop the helicoptering.  Stop giving "one more" leg up.   Stop pushing so hard.  The failures of our children do not belong to us.  Let them flounder a little.  They deserve to grow.

1 comment:

  1. You've really caught it there. The pictures just provide such a great illustration of your argument!
    And it's so true. We've all become helicopter parents and this mentality that all children are equal and God Forbid your child not be good at something the other children are has made us even worse. Failure is not an option, not because the children are determined to succeed but because their parents are determined that their child will not fail. All it creates is learned helplessness.


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