As I mentioned last week, I have a goal of writing articles on how we can work together to develop children who grow up to be adults who love the Lord and function as good citizens, workers, spouses, and eventually parents. I am going to use the writings of Dr. Tim Elmore again, specifically his book, Habitudes. In this book he describes life lessons in terms of images from transportation.
The first image is that of a windshield and rear view mirror. These two allow drivers to see forward and backward while driving, both very useful. I recall learning to drive and how cool it was to see back where I'd been. But I soon learned, fortunately not the hard way, that most of my time needed to be looking forward, not backward. Looking in the mirror was just a quick glance, not a gaze.
In the same way we live our lives better when we look forward and don't try to live in the past. We all know friends who are still living out their high school or college years. This is disappointing and prevents them from being as successful as possible in the present and future. It stunts their growth.
As parents we have to careful not to stunt the growth of our children by looking back with them to days when they were younger and more dependent upon us. Do you continue to pick up after them long past the age when they could be doing it themselves? Careful. I've heard too many parents say, "It's just easier to do it myself". Yes, it is, but in the long run you and your child will benefit, if you take the extra time to teach him how to do it and make him responsible. Do you continue to "help" him with homework even though other classmates are doing the work on their own? Careful. I've heard a few parents refer to the work as "our" work. Even though it's hard to see the lower grades now, you and your child will both be thankful when he learns to be responsible. I'd much rather have my child repeat a grade than to learn dependence as a way of life. The beginning of the school year is the best time to make that transition.
Look forward. Move forward. Don't look gaze in the rear view mirror to a time long ago when our children were dependent upon us. They actually want to become independent. Don't stunt their growth. Remember they have to be adults by the time they are 18. Plan for them to get from where they are now to fully independent in the remaining years.
Yes, it can be hard to let them go, but they will thank you later.
Blessings on your parenting,
Tim Miesner, Principal