The first time I heard the term ‘helicopter parent’ I was dumbfounded. I had to inquire on what it meant. The definition implies an overly protective parent who hovers over and tries to control almost all areas of their child’s life. The result is a lack of resilience and grit in the heart of that child. The thought sure seems a bit repulsive doesn’t it? I certainly am not one of those mothers…or am I?
My Gracie-girl is turning 17 in just a few short weeks. The thought makes me dizzy in the head. She is entering her senior year of high school and I feel certain that I just sent her off to kindergarten. Oh if I could only turn back the clock to those early days of pig tails and pink bows, but then again, that would mean reliving the middle school years, and I for one am not up for that. Fast forward we go then…
She reminds me that I turn almost every life situation into a ‘learning moment.’ I have easily given the ‘power of your words’ talk enough times that she could recite it backwards. I have a hard time letting things go when I feel certain that more must be said. Why is it so painful to just put that punctuation mark at the end of a mama sentence?!?
I suppose the message I am trying to convey is that timing and balance in parenting and in life are so very critical. I have no hope within my self to gain wisdom or insight into such truths, but the Lord God is faithful to drop precious pearls when we need them most. We simply need to ask, and listen.
Well before The Byrds made popular the song with the lyrics, ‘to everything turn, turn, turn,’ the Israelite King Solomon was filling the pages of scripture with reminders of the necessary times and seasons of life. “A time to tear down and a time to mend. A time to be silent and a time to speak,”…Ecclesiastes 3:8 (amongst many others). The Lord God wants us to discern the times we are in as parents and walk accordingly. Most of all, He wants our children to ultimately learn to rely more on Him, and less on us. Are we giving them room to make mistakes? It is only through hardship and pain, that they can really learn to trust that the Lord will always be there for them through the storms and beyond. We should not be too quick to intercede at every sign of impending trouble.
In Matthew chapter 14 we see a bold Peter stepping out of a boat in the midst of a raging tempest. His eyes are fixed on Jesus when he gets the gusto to go through with this. What an incredible moment. The world around him was in utter chaos and destruction, and yet something in his heart and spirit urged him to believe beyond the fear and grab for Jesus. He stepped out of that boat, and for a miraculous and awesome moment, he was walking on water!! Yes, he took his eyes off of Jesus and sank, but more invaluable truths and life lessons were revealed when the savior Lord reached down and pulled him up to safety. Peter’s faith grew that day. But what if Peter’s mama was there at the sidelines? Perhaps she might have been waving her arms in the air and shouting words of extreme caution..”Don’t go son! It is too dangerous!!” If it was my child, I can picture frantically throwing out a life jacket or preserver as a safety back up plan. It is agonizing to watch a child walking head on into danger, but there are times we must back away and let the Savior lift them up when they fall. How else will they learn to call on HIS name?
Now don’t get me wrong…no way should we let go of the controls entirely, but every now and again that helicopter needs to come in for a landing.
Ssshhh, don’t tell Grace I am admitting to any of this! That pic of her is the face I get during one of my exhaustive lectures!