You’re in for yet another parenting post, sorry!
There are so many things about being a parent that you never thought of in your pre-baby days — like, you never realized how long it could take you to get out the door for even a quick errand! Before you leave, you check to be sure the diapers are changed, bellies filled, fussies soothed, blowouts dealt with, shoes on, jackets on, jackets put back on after taken off and thrown across the room, keys found, juice packed, where is your phone?, keys re-found after toddler put them in the laundry hamper, diaper bag, and then, finally, GO!
One of the major things that complicates this process is when toddlers start to want to do things on their own. You were so proud when she was able to pull her pants up by herself for the first time, but guess what? Now she has to pull her pants up by herself every time…and that takes about 10 minutes. And then again when she pulled them down just for the sheer joy of being able to pull them back up again! And now she finally knows how to use a zipper….and use a zipper, and use it again, and again, and cannot keep her coat on. It now takes you 4 times as long to do anything because the independent phase has begun, and he or she must do it themselves if they are able, no matter that you could do it better, faster, and ensure that it was done correctly the first time.
The easiest thing for us to do for our kids is to do it ourselves. It’s done correctly (our way, of course), done efficiently, and done once. But the BEST thing for us to do for our kids is to let them do it themselves. It takes great doses of patience and restraint, but kids can’t learn and grow by you doing for them all the time. As hard as it is to watch sometimes, they have to make mistakes to learn. As parents, we are used to just swooping in and doing it for them because, haven’t we done that for the past 2 years and don’t we know best and aren’t we in a rush?! But, we have to learn to stand back and let them do things on their own, and as we do, they may fail, yes, but they also learn life skills, self reliance, independence, and determination. The time it takes is worth it when you see that smile of pride when she is able to do it herself and each time she succeeds, keeps adding to her confidence and independence. It is so amazing to see how quickly kids learn and grow and start to understand the world around them! We have to let them. We should be raising kids to be productive, not reliant. We should be raising kids to do for themselves, not sit back and have it done for them. We want to raise creative, imaginative problem solvers, not helpless adults who don’t know how to think or do for themselves. We should aspire to raise kids to be important, vibrant, confident, effective members of the kingdom of God, not comfortable to sit back and be served. All of that starts now in these little moments.
If you think about it, God does the same for us – He gives us His word, and the Holy Spirit, sets up the rules and regs. and then lets us do it our own way. If He was a normal human dad, how many times do you think He would have been standing back there behind us saying “Oh, for heaven’s sake! Just let me do it already!”? He stands by and watches us fumbling around our lives, making mistakes and taking four times as long to get to the destination He has for us because we are piddling around with “But look what I can do!”. We don’t let Him have control in our lives, or do it His way the first time, but unfortunately this is the only way we really learn. We end up choosing His way in the end, but we wouldn’t do it if we were forced to, and wouldn’t learn the importance of following His way if we never saw that our way didn’t work and that His was right after all. Each mistake, each error and each false start is an important opportunity to learn and to grow.
Nothing earth-shattering here this week, just one more of the many ways I’ve come to understand God better as a Father since I’ve become a mother – sometimes the things you know don’t click until you’re living them every day! Thank heavens He is way more patient than I am!
“You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.” — Deuteronomy 13:4
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.” — Ephesians 5:1
“The more risks you allow your children to make, the better they learn to look after themselves.” ~ Roald Dahl