I sat in the car, parked in front of the school playground, waiting for my daughters to finish their after school art class. I watched a small five-year-old boy sitting alone on the swings. With all the intensity he could muster, he focused on pumping his legs.
His progress was so slow; at first the swing barely moved at all. Back and forth he leaned, pushing and pulling with all his might to get going. I wanted to step to his aid, get behind him and send him soaring with one big push.
Yet as hard as it was for him to do it himself, I recognized the importance of leaving him alone. Sure, it would be much easier for me to assist, leaving him nothing to do but enjoy the efforts of my work. But what profit would there be for him in taking that route?
No, it was something he needed to learn to do himself. After all, how else could he get that boost of self-confidence that swept through him once he finally got going? His big grin wouldn’t be nearly as meaningful if someone else had done it for him.
As I watched, I thought about how necessary it is at times for me to stand back and let my children struggle. There are things I could do that might make it easier for them today, but in the long run would actually hinder their development. Acknowledging that they may fail, yet encouraging them at every turn will help them mature into a person who can persevere through difficult circumstances and empathize with others in similar situations.
While I’ll always be there watching and praying, sometimes they must step out and attempt something on their own – an unfamiliar skill, a public performance, a new relationship. And I will let them try and, yes, even sometimes fail – not because I don’t love them, but because I do love them so very, very much.
Linked to Word Women Wednesday.
photo courtesy public domain pictures
Thank you. I so needed this post today.
Country Gal says
It's the hardest part of parenting – the letting go.
Jennifer @ Just Peachy in Dixie says
I know exactly what you mean. It is hard to sit back and watch, when ever fiber in your being wants to help, but I firmly believe from my own life experience that struggling makes you stronger!
Thanks for sharing,
Jennifer @ http://justpeachyindixie.blogspot.com
Mrs. Stam says
What a beautiful truth!!!! thank for sharing!
You're welcome. If only parenting came with a warning label that let us know how deep the struggles, yet how high the joys, our mommy hearts would experience.
I guess it's what we find out about many things in life…what may seem the easiest way at the moment isn't necessarily what's best for us.
Sherry @ Lamp Unto My Feet says
So true! We want to step in and help, but sometimes we just need to step back. What they learn now might help them in their adult life of bigger things.
As always, a beautifully written post, Tracey. I truly think God gifted you with an ability to see each moment as "teachable". I pray for eyes (and a heart) like that! You inspire me! =)
Also, reading this post reminded me so much of God's relationship with each of us. He tenderly loves and helps us through all…and sometimes lets us struggle through things so ultimately it will bring us closer to Him (or so I think). 😉 I guess the more I learn about parenting as I go, the more I appreciate His relationship to His children!
I hope you are having a great week!
I think you've mentioned one of the great applications of parenting as so much of what we experience as parents can be applied to how God deals with those of us who are His children (except that, unlike us, He handles each situation perfectly!)
yes..oh how I wish I would have known this when I was raising my oldest three..ok and the younger two:) I was raised with my grandma stepping in at every turn..and I in turn did the same thing. This was showing love to me. I now know different but I can't go back and change it. I parent more like this NOW with the younger two.
GOOD truth and I love the boy swinging picture and how you related it to parenting.
This is some good stuff and I am thrilled you shared it with us
It's Grace says
I love this illustration, Tracey! I remember the first time I learned how to pump and how good it felt to feel like I was flying like a bird. Yes..there are some times where we need to let our kids figure things out on their own so that we don't rob them of the experience and lessons that are the result. But it's hard to step back sometimes, isn't it?
This is something I don't do so well… I want everything to be perfect for my children… SO hard to let them do things themselves and let go.
Your post is encouraging though – I'm glad you shared. 🙂
Thank you, Tiffini! You are always such an encouragement through your comments and I am thankful for those moms with children older than mine who can share their wisdom with me.
Yes, so hard! It's only done by God's grace and by constantly reminding myself that whatever they're experiencing will grow them into the women He would have them to be.
Great post. A reminder I so needed to hear too. I am a parent to just one child and it is so hard to let him grow up. I know that sometimes I intervene too quickly and help him. I need to be reminded that the way we learn is by making mistakes. Thank you!