Why you need to stop babysitting

Saturday September 25 2021
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Min Atek

By Min Atek



Parenting

In the clip, he is described as the strongest man on record, having broken all the world records as an American SEAL and for his service in the navy. Towards the end, he starts to give a speech. He thanks his mother and then chokes from emotions.

He takes a moment to momentarily compose himself, then thanks his mother for never picking him up when he fell down as a child because that taught him to pick himself up.

The camera zoomed in on the mother, her head down with teary eyes. It was an emotional moment. Raising a child, particularly a son, means there will be times, where for his own good, you must look away and let him pick himself up.

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The natural instinct tells us to always reach out and help our children; to do everything for them and to almost want to walk their journey for them. We were wired to care, to nurture and to groom.

Look at mother animals and birds. They are wired to naturally go all out for their young; protecting, shielding and grooming. However, there is a big place of understanding and wisdom that we should exercise.

I often challenge myself to imagine what my children would do if I was away for extended periods. Would they comfortably live in another household and be of value to it?

One of the children struggled being away from home in the earlier days. He was too attached and it was not pleasant. Then I started to have candid talks with him, telling him to grow up and to measure up. I would speak to him about personal responsibility and personal initiative. My talk was hard and I would sometimes feel guilty for speaking so firmly to him.

Through the seasons, I would throw him into what I consider to be deep end situations. I would let him come home by himself. I would send him on long errands and sometimes, I would send him upcountry. He stopped whining and the attachment dropped by good measure.

There are many mornings when I have to fight myself not to help a child and to let them figure out a challenging situation. Sometimes I look away as they forget their lunchbox at home. I do all this to allow them grow and become independent.

Why? I must love them enough to let them go and not to pick them up when they fall because they must build their own ability and tenacity to get up by themselves.

There are really no two ways about life. Either you face it or it will face you. And in both instances, you will be the common denominator.


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