Have you ever taken the time to look around and figure out what things are holding your kids back? What is keeping them from taking risks that will let them learn? Maybe an even more cutting question would be; who is doing things for them and preventing them from learning?
I believe the primary thing that holds kids back from learning, growing, and excelling in life are the adults closest to them…yep us as parents.
I think back to my childhood and I was driving a lawnmower at 3, Honda Three Wheeler at 4, Minibike and backhoe at 5. My mom was furious with my dad about letting me on the backhoe alone but I loved it then and wonder now if it wasn’t one of his best parenting moves.
When I was 8 my dad give me a pile of tools and stuck me in front of a lawnmower that needed some engine repairs. I remember the instructions were “remove the spark plug and these bolts then pull the head off.” Dad walked away and I did what I was told. It felt like my dad was gone forever, and I was nervous I would mess up but I followed my instructions. When he returned he reset the values, and told me to put it all back together, and away he went again.
I don’t know what he expected to happen. I don’t know if he watched me from the window. But I followed instructions and mowed the lawn later that day. I learned that I CAN. Age wasn’t holding me back.
I try giving my kids the same types of opportunities. Ava (8) is a great example of not realizing she can’t.
- A few days after Lydia was born she made eggs and coffee and brought us breakfast in bed.
- She bakes banana bread and cookies from scratch without any help (Not event with the oven).
- Over a year ago she taught Charis the alphabet (which was a surprise when Stef realized Charis had it down).
- Oh yeah, she was driving my 5-speed car at 7 years old.
Today Stef was in a skit (full skit here) but our normal lighting person couldn’t make the practices. Ava offered to help. But come on…she is 8. We can’t trust her to actually do it, can we? I did. And she learned the system, memorized the ques and nailed it. Check out these videos I got during the process.
At Christmas Ava got a new laptop and keeps asking me “dad, how do I….?” As much as possible I encourage her to try to learn herself. This isn’t because I am lazy. It’s because I don’t want her to need more to learn. She won’t break the computer beyond what I can fix. So I want her to experiment.
Breaking free from the desire to protect our children and make things easy for them is hard. It goes against our instincts. But fortunately, Stef and I are in to together to continually challenge one another for the benefit of our children.
Here are some questions that Stef and I as each other to make sure we aren’t holding our kids back.
- Why are you saying NO?
- Risks: Our kids learn better from minor injuries then you do words from your parents. It’s okay if they take some risks.
- Projects: Many times saying yes to our kids doing something will take longer, but they will enjoy the time with you and learn more. Also if it’s a “chore” and they are offering to help…come on why would we discourage that? 🤣
- Are they old enough to do this themself?
- I will not be the parent whose kids are unable to do laundry or fix themself a snack when they become teenagers.
- What unique opportunities can we give our kids that meet their interests and passions?
How are you holding your kids back? How are you fighting against that urge? Comment below.