Let ‘em Grow Let ‘em Grow Let ‘em Grow
I know, life is challenging enough. This is what parents tell themselves. After all, when we create even a modicum of affluence, work hard to provide for our children, it’s good to allow them to benefit from that. We want them to have life easier than we have had it, not to have to work so hard.
What if the hard work, the struggle, the failures one experiences are actually the fertilizers for their own successes?
What if the challenges they encounter as they find their path for self-support builds confidence, resourcefulness, and stamina?
What if this is the necessary rich soil for a foundation to build their own businesses, relationships or self-sustaining careers?
Tension precedes growth. When we take that tension away from our children, making life too easy, too attainable, too handy, (handing them everything without their own efforts being involved) we prevent their growth and essentially cripple them. Just like the story of the butterfly struggling to get out if his cocoon when a little boy thought he would “help” and snipped a larger hole to make it easier for the butterfly to emerge. The butterfly didn’t make it. The struggle is what made its wings strong enough to fly.
Studies at Stanford suggests the importance of embracing stress as a way to help us grow. One of the conclusions is that people who feel more stress often have more meaningful lives, they are engaged, and their relationships, work, and activities matter to them.
According to the United States Census Bureau in 2017, a third of all young adults between the ages of 18-34 live with their parents. This isn’t an issue of help. It’s an issue of parents stepping in to make life a little bit too easy, a little bit too accessible, a little bit too comfortable for their children.
Possible, we need to re-think if our giving too much is about feeling pride for our accomplishments, rather than empowering our children to strive for their own.
Arguably, the greatest gift we offer our children, besides the basics of food, shelter, and clothing is to increase our ability to tolerate their discomfort and let them find their own way. Don’t clip their wings. Let them learn to fly.