So, I watched this video on FB the other day. Please take a few minutes to watch it before reading the rest of the post. It’s worth it!
Didja watch it? Ok, good.
So anyway, I watched this video on Facebook, and scrolled through the comments. All the comments on that video were all about persistence, not giving up, the bravery (and cuteness) of those little ducklings who didn’t give up and finally made it up those stairs.
Yes, I too was inspired and encouraged by those little ducklings. Both of my boys have special needs and require therapy and hard work to learn to do things that come naturally to others. So yes, I saw my boys in those ducklings, how they try and don’t ever give up and eventually, in their own timing, succeed.
But honestly, I was captivated by that mother duck.
I realized how unlike that mother duck I was. I would have been thinking, oh, you can’t climb the stairs yet. Let me show you how, and if you can’t get it after a few attempts, we’ll find another way to our destination and can try the stairs a little bit later. When you’re older and stronger (and taller!).
But if I had done that, I would have missed out on watching my children strive to master something and succeed. To grow in strength and independence and mastering a new skill. And yeah, maybe they definitely aren’t ready for that. But maybe, just maybe, they might be able to do it on their own.
I want to be more like that mother duck. More trusting of my children to learn things I may initially think they’re not ready for. Letting them try and fail and figure it out on their own, without swooping in to help. Giving them opportunities to grow in independence and important life skills. Giving them a sense of pride when they do figure it out and experience victory.
I want to let them try new things I may think they’re not ready for, but they indicate to me they are. They just might surprise me.
It’s not easy, bravely letting our kids go. Bravely giving them opportunities them try new things. Bravely giving them opportunities to enter new environments, where we’re not sure how they’ll do. It’s a scary world for our children.
But we can’t protect our children from everything. We’re not meant to.
And it’s our job to raise them to be independent adults. Adults who can make their own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and can tie their own shoelaces. (Well, I’m hoping we master that by age 10. Hopefully by the time they’re an adult they can make entire meals and do their own laundry and so much more).
A Few Areas We Could Let Them Try New Things
- Think of a few self-help skills your child is old enough to do on their own. Teach them how to do it and give them daily opportunities to practice.
- Give them a new chore (or several!) to help contribute around the house (plus learn a life-skill they will need to be successful as an adult).
- Give them a little more space in environments they are comfortable with.
- Let them try out for that team or activity they keep asking about.
And while every overly protective cell in my body longs to keep my own ducklings close and safe and give them an easier life, I want to be able to let them grow and trust that God will take care of them when I cannot.
To give them an opportunity to experience all that life has to offer them and all that God intends for them to be.
What about you? In what ways do you need to bravely let your child(ren) grow on their own?