“Why is it that we try and keep from our kids the very thing that made us successful, our failures.” (anonymous)
You obsess over your child’s homework. And his diet, as if a hotdog for breakfast will doom him to a life of obesity. You interfere in childish skirmishes and insist your little angel is right, even if six witnesses disagree. You expect at least three phone calls a day when Princess enters adulthood. And every time Bubba loses a job or a wife, the Welcome Home banner is draped across the threshold of his childhood home where his clean bedsheets await.
Helicopter parents, hovering to micro-manage, please stop!
Many of this generation are babied, protected and entitled because the only location good enough for them is Easy Street. My plea to you is simple: Let your children struggle. Stop masking your kids’ mistakes by refusing to allow them to suffer consequences for their behavior. In my day (yes, when dinosaurs roamed the earth), parents believed their role was to grow independent children. Taking a few knocks was part of that process. No more.
Drake, my grandson, holds the local high school record for being penalized during his basketball practices this year.
Failure to bring tennis shoes? Run a few sets of stairs.
Being late? More stair laps.
Forgetting tennis shoes AGAIN? Add more laps.
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
When it became apparent Drake had mastered the stairs but failed to elicit the desired rehabilitation, he was assigned the towel drill. Placing his hands on a towel on the floor, he ran from one side of the gym to the other in that bent position. In fact, he performed that drill so many times, when baseball season rolled around, he was the best-conditioned player on the team.
His parents laughed with each escapade. It never crossed their minds to complain or to rush to school with that forgotten pair of tennis shoes to cover for their child or to ask for a private meeting with Coach Young. Yea, them.
Recently, Fort Scott celebrated when eight wounded veterans caravanned through town. School children were given an opportunity to be dismissed from class so they could wave flags and cheer for the soldiers. They, like many of the rest of us, came together and showed our appreciation for those who fought to give us the freedoms we all share.
One mother felt differently. She was livid that her young child had to stand in the rain waiting for the caravan to arrive and drove to the site where his classmates were waiting, insisting he get in the car while she berated the adults who were there with the other kids.
Really? REALLY? I wonder if it dawned on her that those soldiers probably spent more than a little time in the rain, protecting our homeland. What message did she give her child about honoring the real heroes of our nation? (Not to mention, for goodness sakes, when we were little, we played in the rain.)
In the book Weird, author Craig Groeschel reminds us that our greatest priority as parents is to gradually transfer our children’s dependence away from us until it rests solely on God. To raise boys and girls who do not idolize their dads and moms; instead, they honor the only One who truly knows what is best for their lives…which probably includes not a few lessons about consequences.
Helicopter parents, please let God be God. Land that runaway plane of interference, turn off your blades of privilege and let your children’s failures be their lessons. Before it’s too late.