A couple of days ago I blogged about a sentence one of my daughters wrote in my Mother’s Day card: “Thank you for being overly-helpful because I know you are just trying to make my life easier.” (You can read about it here.) God used this simple sentence to show me that, although I was trying to help my daughter through an extremely stressful situation, He was working in her life to mature her. She already had her situation under control. This overly-helpful mom had a small victory earlier this week! I started to write about it in a Facebook status, but it ended up being too long. So I decided to go ahead and make a short blog post about it!
Early last year my friend, Shannon, gave me a suggestion to curb the morning distress phone calls and texst that basically said, “Mom, I left my ______ at home. Can you please bring it to me?”
Being a stay-at-home-mom, these distress calls didn’t usually bother me, and I ran many rescue missions. Eventually, though, it became too much.
Shannon charges her kids $5/trip for items left at home. She said doing that cured their forgetfulness immediately. So I started doing that, too. Unless I was headed in the general direction of the school in a time-frame that worked for them, I started charging them for these trips. My kiddos got mad at me for a while, but I haven’t had to make an “emergency” 😉 trip in a long time. This left room for other opportunities for me to be “overly-helpful.”
Until this morning. My other daughter left some schoolwork at home. The subsequent plea for help came soon afterward. She wanted me to bring it to her before the bell rang for first period. I had just crawled out of bed and was not ready to rush up to the school. Never mind that I hadn’t had any coffee yet! I told her I would get it to her after I had some coffee and got dressed. This was going to put her in a major bind, because not only did she leave the homework at home–she hadn’t completed it–and it was due in second period!
After my coffee and shower, I received a text that said she figured out what she could do. My intentional delay got her super smart mind working to figure another way out of her dilemma. My purpose not to be overly-helpful allowed her to solve her own problem. Which is exactly what we, as parents, are supposed to do … instruct our kids to be independent and self-disciplined.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)
As we do our part, little by little our kids do theirs. And eventually we can trust the Lord with this great promise.
Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. (Proverbs 22:6)
I don’t know about you, but I need this kind of encouragement–especially as I parent my teenagers. Sometimes I just wonder–ya know? Other times, I smile with deep satisfaction.
Since this recent crisis, I realized that often I do let my children steer their own ships. Sometimes things turn out really well. Sometimes–not so much. But even then, we all learn together how things could have happened differently.
There have been many times when an unpleasant situation presented itself at school. When they were younger, if I felt it was necessary, I would contact the teacher and work it out. These days, I ask my kiddos if they want me to intervene. Almost every time they tell me no. They want to deal with it themselves.
As an overly-helpful mom, I have lots to learn about letting my kids grow and make their own way in life. But this week is a good one.
So I’m doing a little happy dance over here. For me, because I grew up a bit this week and didn’t rush to the rescue. And for my girl, who also grew up some and solved her own problem this week.
I think God is doing a little happy dance, too.
Image: Pixabay (schneeknirschen)