I walk the line

There is a fine line to parenting. As the one who gave birth, it’s very easy for me to be protective of my children. I want to pick them up when they fall and kiss them when they cry.

As I write this, I’m sitting at the rec department watching my five year old cry after getting knocked down in his football practice. My instinct is to run out there and make sure he’s ok, but I know he needs to learn to work through this. He needs to learn to get back up and get out there again.

I had to learn that I won’t always be there to pick them up and there are things in this world that they need to experience and learn from.

I have this cat, you see, and before we had kids, we realized that she wasn’t the most kid friendly animal. She scratched children of friends a couple of times and we eventually learned to warn the kids before this happened. So we knew that there was a good chance that she might not get along well with our kids when they came along.

When Jay got old enough to be curious, I watched and waited. I knew that one day he would try to pet the cat. The day came and Jay approached the cat. He reached out and I watched. The cat scratched his hand and he screamed. He was hurt and I checked his hand for the faintest of scratches on his hand. It would take a couple more interactions before the lesson really sunk in, but it did sink in, for both of them. He eventually learned not to pet the cat and she learned how to swat at him without using her claws.
There’s a learning curve that we as parents have to figure out on our own. How much do we prepare our kids for and protect them from, and how much do we let them learn on their own? I have seen over and over again that my kids seem to learn faster when they’re allowed to make their own mistakes. They are trying to figure out their world and it is my job to observe and be there to pick them up when they need it.

Looking back now I can see how school prepared me for life, but I’ve learned more and grown more in the past eighteen years. Life experiences make us who we are. It’s easy to look back and wish things had been different or wish that we had made different choices, but we are the choices we made. We can’t change the past and it’s who makes us who we are. We learn from every decision we make. Each one forms the people we are today. I can spend my days regretting past decisions or wishing that I could change things that happened in the past, or I can embrace the person who was influenced and changed by those decisions.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Leslie Stirewalt Anderson
    Oct 02, 2011 @ 19:22:44

    That is the hardest part of parenting. I am all for letting my kids fall down & screw up now, while it won’t hurt so much. :-/


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