Time and again, my children have proven to me they are more capable than I thought.
As parents, we don’t want to exude more energy.
Normally, it's us holding them back.
So we do the task ourselves while they stand aside.
We cook while they watch TV.
We interfere when they are climbing.
We make excuses instead of playing one more game of tag.
All the while not allowing them the experience to do and learn.
This is a daily struggle for me.
My older boys are two and five.
My brain thinks, if I involve them:
Any task will take longer.
The mess will be larger.
One of them will get hurt.
I will be even more tired.
It takes a conscious decision to step aside and allow them to do.
It's an active mental shift.
The results? I am continuously surprised.
Yes, the milk spilled the first few times. Now it doesn’t.
My help is no longer needed to build the lego kit.
All of the zucchini for last night's dinner was cut up without me or my wife lifting a finger.
Holes were dug, plants were put in and watered with minimal help.
The list go on.
When I stay out of their way, they prove time and again they are more capable than I had thought.
They do well beyond what I am comfortable with.
Meaning, I am the one that was holding them back.
Experience is the best teacher
As a guest on Theo Von's podcast just over a year ago, Jordan Peterson said, "If you are going to make your kids tough, which they better be if they are going to survive in the world, you can't interfere when they're doing dangerous things carefully."
Theo responded, "Think about that specifically. Dangerous things carefully, that is such a place where kids learn."
To which Peterson said, "That's the only place they learn. That's where everyone learns everything."
To me, this not only applies to "dangerous things" but to all things.
As parents, our job is to create the safe space which allows our kids the opportunity to find their limit instead of drawing the line for them.
They will do and they will fail. But the risk of failure is overshadowed by experience gained.
If you'll allow it, they will do again. And they may surprise you.
Allow your child to do.
Allow them to spill and help clean up.
Allow them to fall, realizing it didn't hurt as bad as expected, then try again.
Allow them to fail, providing guidance the next go around.
Challenge yourself to get uncomfortable by allowing them the opportunity of experience.
Children are more capable than we allow, let's stop holding them back.
Be Present. Be Intentional.
- Chad Vrla