I came across an excellent post on parenting at the park… Our job is to raise confident & capable kids who are strong enough to take on the challenges they face every day. I often wish moms I run into here in Hong Kong would give their kids a chance to learn what they are capable of on their own. Certainly it won’t kill them to carry their own backpack, even if they ARE only 6 years old, it might even make them take pride in their strength & their school… But instead, many kids have a nanny, or a ‘helper’ as they are called, that carries their bag & coat as well. These same kids grow up in a home where the cleaning/cooking is always done & they are never expected to lift a finger – but in turn, they are often helpless & lost in a far off city or even country – w/o the comforts of hired help once they go off to university!
Dear Other Parents At The Park:
Please do not lift my daughters to the top of the ladder, especially after you’ve just heard me tell them I wasn’t going to do it for them and encourage them to try it themselves.
I am not sitting here, 15 whole feet away from my kids, because I am too lazy to get up. I am sitting here because I didn’t bring them to the park so they could learn how to manipulate others into doing the hard work for them. I brought them here so they could learn to do it themselves.
They’re not here to be at the top of the ladder; they are here to learn to climb. If they can’t do it on their own, they will survive the disappointment. What’s more, they will have a goal and the incentive to work to achieve it.
In the meantime, they can use the stairs. I want them to tire of their own limitations and decide to push past them and put in the effort to make that happen without any help from me.
It is not my job — and it is certainly not yours — to prevent my children from feeling frustration, fear, or discomfort. If I do, I have robbed them of the opportunity to learn that those things are not the end of the world, and can be overcome or used to their advantage.
If they get stuck, it is not my job to save them immediately. If I do, I have robbed them of the opportunity to learn to calm themselves, assess their situation, and try to problem solve their own way out of it.
It is not my job to keep them from falling. If I do, I have robbed them of the opportunity to learn that falling is possible but worth the risk, and that they can, in fact, get up again.
I don’t want my daughters to learn that they can’t overcome obstacles without help. I don’t want them to learn that they can reach great heights without effort. I don’t want them to learn that they are entitled to the reward without having to push through whatever it is that’s holding them back and *earn* it.
Read the rest of this post by Kate Bassford Baker
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” -Proverbs 22:6