Last night I went to a parent-teacher conference for one of my children.
All in all, he is doing great and I am a proud mama.
When I got home and had space to think (read: laying in bed, trying to fall asleep… it’s where I do my
best deepest thinking, who needs sleep anyway?), something struck me about the conversation with that sweet teacher.
You see, this particular child is doing great, especially when he applies himself.
However, this kiddo can also act like a kid and rush through an assignment, get distracted, or maybe just not care as much as he should.
She discussed a few tactics of how she was going to keep him on track.
(Do you think it would be too much to ask her to convince him that he must practice these skills at home while say… cleaning his room? I mean, practice makes perfect, right?)
I praised her for her efforts,
I praised her for her endurance,
and I praised her for sticking to her guns.
She looked a bit bewildered for a moment… it was like she was waiting for the next foot to drop.
Like maybe, I was going to follow up the praise with excuses or justifications.
There was moment of awkward silence.
(This is becoming more and more common in my life.)
Then she thanked me.
The rest of the conference was great but while I was trying to sleep last night, I just kept replaying that one particular piece of the conversation.
She. Thanked. Me.
Then it hit me…
teachers are not given the freedom to teach these days,
their hands are often tied, and parents are constantly breathing down their necks.
We need to get out of the way and let teachers teach.
Now don’t get me wrong.. of course, as parents it is our job to protect our kids from harm and injustice.
I am, by no means, suggesting that you stop doing that.
(Be warned…I will show you a whole new level of cray cray if you are harming my child.)
But what about all the uncomfortable stuff for your kid?
What about having to redo an assignment?
What about having to miss a recess, sit in a time out?
What about when the teacher doesn’t have mercy on them for their late assignment and they get a zero?
What are we teaching our kids if we swoop in to save the day every time things don’t go their way?
I’ll tell you what you are teaching them…
You are teaching them they can’t do this thing called life on their own.
You are teaching them mom and dad have more power than all other authority figures.
You are teaching them if you whine a little you will get your way.
Those are all lies.
Being their heroic protector now is only putting a bandaid on the issue which will continue to fester and become a gaping wound in their adult life.
When our kids venture out into the big bad world…
we will not be able to email a college professor to “discuss” the latest issues,
we will not be able to storm a college campus to reprimand an unfair grade,
we will not be able to scorn their boss to help them get their way,
and let’s hope we don’t think we will be able to get all up in their marriage.
We have to teach our kids how to handle life.
We have to let them fail and then teach them how to recover.
Sometimes this is hard to watch, painful even… but it is truly forming the character of that future adult.
I want to raise our kids to be prepared to work hard and own up to their own mistakes.
I want them to be equipped to persevere the trials and tribulations that life will undoubtedly throw at them.
I truly believe it is better for them to progressively learn these lessons while they are under our roof.
Little people, little problems… bigger people, bigger problems.
It is our job to walk beside or behind them in these struggles.
It is not our job to go before them.
We have to raise them to NOT need us.
We have to raise them to leave us.
(it’s ok to cry now)
**This article about raising kids originally appeared on ChristenSpratt.com. Used with permission.