26 January 2006

i get it

“I get it!  I get it!  I get it!”  We hear that all the time around our house right now.  Our kids are one and two; and they are speaking well-enough, moving well-enough, that now they want to do EVERYTHING!  And they want to try EVERYTHING!  Hence the “I get it!” whenever there’s a chance to do something new.

But of course, I’m a parent.  And I can be the type of parent that sees danger ahead.  I can see that they might fall out of that chair that they want to climb in to.  I can see that they cannot put on their own shoes and socks yet.  But they so want to try.

It is a tough line to walk as parent, of toddler or of teen, when they are asserting their independence, their desire to do for themselves.  You want to give them the freedom; yet you worry about their hurt or sorrow, about the pain of failure.  It is a tough line because kids need to experience and try things for themselves, but our role as parent is also to protect.  The danger to protect too much is the same as the danger of too little protection.

The research on kids and optimism and resiliency says that parents should allow kids a chance to experience problems, give them a chance to figure it out for themselves, and as parents to give them options for how to figure it out too (for example: “Maybe there’s another way to do that,” we might say.).  And then to give them the chance to try again . . . the freedom to try again.

Maybe our model is that God too gives us freedom.  It is freedom to fail.  It is also the chance to get it right when we try again.

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