A friend from the Midwest offered to come to New Jersey. Her sole purpose was to teach my toddler to eat by herself when she heard I wouldn't let go of control of the spoon. I wanted to keep the cleanup to a minimum, you see. But I soon would learn that some messes wouldn't be so easy to avoid.
After putting child safety locks on all the kitchen cabinets, I was a bit too trustful. I noticed a white cloud poofing its way through the kitchen door. The cabinets could still open just wide enough for a chubby baby arm to be inserted directly into an open bag of flour. Fistfuls of the delightful white stuff were being tossed skyward. Our future baker was at work.
In "From Generation X to Generation Me", Huffpost blogger Rhiana Maidenberg, points to the pitfalls of parents protecting children (and themselves) from too many of life's messy moments. Like me, many parents have wanted to "control the spoon" to help their children avoid experiencing heartache (when they aren't invited to a popular kid's birthday party), frustration (when a task is still difficult to do after the fifth try), failure (when they tumble from a play structure) and disappointment (when someone else wins all the prizes).
But over-protection can be a real handicap if kids miss out on opportunities to develop the ability to be alone, to take a stand, to express commitment and focus, patience and satisfaction, when things don't go their way. And what safer place is there to develop essential life skills, than in a loving, nurturing home environment?
Rhianna listed certain things she intends to do to help her children grow up strong and independent. She plans to let them fight their own battles to learn problem-solving; to not be the parent who insists her child be invited to all birthday parties, to teach them to cope with disappointment; and to let her children experience failure because one doesn't win at everything all the time.
Sounds like a good strategy to me. But we all know know that fixing a game plan is one thing. Balancing consistent follow-through with the flexiblity necessary to respond to individual situations appropriately, can be something else entirely.
Here's my tip for parents who would like to see each family member reach his full potential:
Pray DAILY for yourself and your child.
I know. You are thinking, "That is a no-brainer tip, considering the focus of this blog. Of course she would say that."
But seriously, DO IT.
It can make the difference between trying hard and getting nowhere as a parent, and trying hard and seeing the results of your love and consideration pay off in healthy, confident and responsible kids.
It is no coincidence that Christ Jesus starts off the Lord's Prayer with "Our Father which art in heaven." Jesus was raised in an environment where his individual potential was recognized and nurtured, but also where the parents understood that he had the same Father as they. Uniting under the influence of "Our Father", no one gets short-changed in the "needs met" department.
Our Father helps move parents and children from the Generation ME to the Generation WE of God, Good guarding, guarding and prospering each one of us.
No one has quick and easy answers as to what is best for your children, not even you as their parent. But, their divine Father, who knows them best (and knows you best) does. Regular daily check-ins with the Father yields saner parents and healthier children. Having tried it both ways, parenting without prayer and then discovering the difference in parenting through prayer, I speak from experience. Don't stay on the dark side. Pray for your kids, pray for yourself. And watch the creative, insightful and productive ways God brings out to successfully raise up both you and the kids!
I have practiced Christian Science professionally in
some form since 1979.
But my journey with
Christian Science started
in a Sunday school
where as a young child
I was taught the Scriptures and some simple basics
of Jesus' method of
scientific Christian healing.
A significant experience
at the age of twelve
opened my eyes to
the great potential
of this practice.
After impaling my foot
on a nail,
I prayed the way I had learned
in Sunday school.
the pain stopped
and healing began.
By the next morning the wound had disappeared completely.
the great potential
of Christian Science,
there would be no