Stay Out of the Way

While we were at the playground this evening, Moses went over to a fairly tall, steep climbing wall. As he put his foot on the first step, I thought to myself, “I don’t think he can climb this.” Instead of going over to help him, though, I just stayed back out of the way and kept my mouth shut.

He went to step up on the second step, and then stopped and got off the wall. He ran back towards the slide he had been going down, but instead of stopping, he ran past it.

He ran to a shorter, less steep climbing wall on a different structure. And climbed right up it. It took him a little extra effort to pull himself up and over the top, but he did it.

So tonight’s parenting lesson brought to me by Moses was to stay out of the way. My job as his mom is not to decide what he is or is not able to do. My job is to give him the opportunity to try and support him in his efforts. If he needs help, he’ll ask for it. More often than not, however, he doesn’t need my help.

How many times do we as parents get in the way of our kids showing us, and themselves, what they can do because we decide for them whether or not they can do something? Or decide that they need help because they’re not doing it quickly or easily enough, or because it’s not the “right” (i.e. our) way?

Our kids are capable of amazing things. And they’ll be happy to show us if we’ll just stay out of their way.

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