Squeezing too hard..


I have a question for you to begin today's blog..By squeezing too hard are we actually doing harm?

O.K. There's the question!

Last night I had the chance to be with a lovely bunch of woman who are well my juniors...( hard to swallow, but true)! They are a committed group of young mothers that I have the opportunity to be involved with on a professional level. This group of young woman send their children to a school I teach at.

As the evening and the meeting progressed, I began to think about being a good parent and what that involves. I guess, of course that the label "Good Parent" is subjective. Anyone can make their own judgement about what that label entails. Unlike DCFS, or the FDA, or the CDC...we do not have to comply with any set of rules predetermined by a governmental agency to be a parent.

I listened to these woman, all well educated and well intentioned, discuss their children and what kind of involvement they as parents have in their children's lives. I began to think that the concept of Do No Harm is a tricky one!! I was originally thinking of Do No Harm as the concept of neglect or abuse, but as I listened to these parents I wondered if Do No Harm can also mean something else.

These particular parents are uber involved with their children and the kinds of situations they choose to have their children participate in. As a qualifier, most of these parents have young children, ranging in age from 2-12. But, as I thought and listened to their concerns and their goals for their kids I was wondering if being too involved is equally as harmful as not being involved enough.

Yes, I know that this world is indeed a scary place, and I was probably guilty of some of the same behaviors as these young mothers. Yet, is it a good thing for our children if we as parents are wound too tight or are too worried or too careful? I think back to the times when my kids were young. It can be just as hard to let go of children appropriately as it is to care for them well. I have a card on my desk that says "Good Parents give their children roots and wings. Roots to know where home is, wings to fly away and exercise what's been taught them". One of my now adult children, well, actually probably all 3 of them, tease me about this card, because I bought it for myself. At the times it was hard to let my children go, I would remind myself of this phrase. I may not, of course, always been successful at accomplishing this goal, but I was mindful of both responsibilities of parenting; loving well and letting go well. ( I think I was probably better at the loving well)!

So, I ask us to consider what is best for our children. Sometimes I know it is easier to do what is best for us. We do need to love our children well. We do need to care for them and protect them well. We do need to be mindful of the types of situations and groups and places that we allow our children to be in. BUT, and this may be the hard part, we also owe them the opportunity to be allowed out. Allowed out without us! Allowed to visit at a new friend's house, of course with the appropriate amount of parental supervision. Allowed to meet new people. Allowed to try new things. Allowed to go to new places. Allowed to explore and discover what excites them, not just what excites us or makes us, as parents feel comfortable.

That is the hard part. The balance between loving and letting go. Doing No Harm.

I suggest that Good Parents work hard to achieve that excellent balance. Balance loving well and letting go well. Become your own Maestro. Know how to hold onto your child, like the Maestro knows when and how to hold onto a note, and know how to let your child go, like the Maestro knows how and when to release the note for that perfect effect. Become the greatest conductor of your children's lives. Help your children find the balance they need to grow and become their own version of a perfect symphony!

Balance is key!

Until next time,