Last week I wrote about allowing children to fail. They learn what it is to fail and how to bounce back. That's one of the issues identified by Dr. Tim Elmore in his list of seven things parents do to keep their kids from becoming leaders. This week I'm going to write about another of those bad parenting behaviors, rescuing too quickly.
As a society we are increasingly safety conscious. In most ways that's a positive, but when it comes to raising our children, this can be a real problem. We want to protect them from everything. Much like preventing them from failing, we want to help them fix any problem they've created. They learn that adults will be there to rescue them at all times. Of course we do want our children to trust that we can take care of any situation, but rescuing too quickly may communicate that we think they are inadequate to solve life's problems. We certainly don't want that. The best way to help them grow up to understand the real world is to structure life for them so it mirrors the real world.
In the real world, we pick up crumbs when we drop them. In the real world we fix the things we break. We go back to get things we've forgotten. We do without things we left behind. We have to pay extra when we are late on our payments. Likewise students should be expected to pick up after themselves, repair their destruction, and retrieve the items of their own forgetfulness. In school get a lower grade when they turn in work late. If they turn in too many late assignments they could even repeat a grade. These are the normal consequences of our mistakes. Don't shield you children from these events. Teach them to recover from happenings like this. It will go a long way towards the much larger problems later in life. I would rather my child repeat a grade than come to expect he will always get a free pass in life.
I'm not saying this is easy; the easy route is to rescue. Unfortunately that's parenting for the short term, but it does not prepare our kids for the long term, for real life. And yes, it must be age appropriate. We must replicate the real world increasingly as children grow older. We protect more when they are younger.
Finally, this does not apply to life threatening events. Please do rescue a child who goes out in the street or is playing with a knife. But if the danger does not involve something that will pose permanent injury, let the natural consequences apply as much as possible.
Blessings on your role a parent. God has given you the highest calling in this life.
In His Service,
Tim Miesner, Principal