You know how they say that it’s good to work ourselves out of a job? Because that means we have trained our juniors so well that they can stand on their own two feet and no longer need our supervision.
I think the same principle applies to parenting. And that’s what this poem written by Denis Waitley reminded me of.
I don’t mean that we ever stop being a mum or a dad. (How is that ever possible?) But it does mean that our children grow strong and independent enough to stand their own ground. (And feel safe enough to shout for help when necessary.)
We are to give our children roots – a strong identity, values and foundation, a home and family to belong to. And also wings – independence, freedom to make mistakes, wisdom to make good choices, and eventually the ability to leave home to form their own families.
So may we not hesitate to use everyday opportunities to strengthen our children’s growing wings, as well as to deepen their roots in love.
And when the time comes to send them off to pursue their destiny, may we not hold them back because of our own fears.
After all if they have strong roots and wings, I’m sure that no matter where life leads them, they will still find their way back home.
How to dig deep roots:
- Live out and speak your values. Whether it’s honesty, diligence or perseverance, our kids need to hear and see it to believe.
- Create family traditions such as celebrating birthdays and festivals like Christmas and Chinese new year
- Cultivate a strong sense of belonging and community through simple ways such as keeping a memory album, or looking through old photos from time to time
- Build close community ties with like-minded family and friends
- Create playful, enjoyable moments together such as Mum-daughter dates or daddy-son dates (or vice versa)
How to strengthen their wings:
- Let them take on appropriate challenges such as allowing your toddler to help in the kitchen, and your preschooler to manoeuvre social situations herself (knowing you are near should she need help)
- Let them take on responsibilities such as packing their own bag or lunchbox daily, remembering to take out their homework, etc.
- Encourage them when they make mistakes by acknowledging the effort they made. Tell them stories of the mistakes you’ve made before and how you learnt from them.
- Give them the tools to achieve a specific goal, such as baking a cake, but let them try it out themselves
This is week 11 of the Little Lessons series, which runs on the blog every Thursday. Do grab our badge and link up your little lessons / learning activities here!
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