July 19, 2011

Allowing Them to Struggle

Walking along the narrow peninsula jutting into the lake, I peer to the right, and see our oldest.  He's found his own secluded, small beach front fishing spot.  He's not on the shore line though.  He's standing by the trees.  Hands raised in the air, working on something...

I step closer to see what is wrong. 

While casting his line, it became tangled in a nearby tree. 

I could have easily stepped in and helped him free the line.  I wanted to, but I didn't.

Instead, I watched as he twisted and turned the line.  The foliage was thick and the line thin.  I saw how he could easily release the line.  He didn't.  Not right away.  By trying to untangle the line, he made it worse. 

He didn't complain,
but worked the problem from all angles, and eventually freed the line on his own. 

I smiled. 
I had wanted to help.
How badly I wanted to step in and take over fixing his problem! 

This time, I didn't.  Would I have really been helping him, or just fixing his problem?  As he grows older and matures, I am learning that he needs to learn how to handle some problems on his own.  It is part of growing up: allowing him to struggle, make mistakes, and work at a solution.  It is tough.   

And, sometimes this is harder for me, the parent, than he, the child!

Will it be easier with the other children,
since he is paving the way, teaching me how to be a better mother?
I walk on wondering...could it be?

Looking to the left, I see her.
Our oldest girl bent over. 
Pole in one hand, line in another.
Line tangled over stems.

No, it is not the oldest alone;
they all teach me how to be a better mother.

Today, untangling fishing line
and beginning to learn how to work through problems
...for the tomorrows to come.


  1. brillant post... and one i much needed to hear!

    thank you

  2. I love having these reminders from you...you teach me so much.

  3. Oh, how often I long to jump in and fix things for my girls! There are times when my fingers are literally itching to help and I have to sit on them!

    It is so good to watch them figure out problems and complete on their own - but there are days when it is HARD!


Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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