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How to Show Strong Love by Landing the Helicopter

By August 12, 2015June 24th, 2019One Comment

Looking up the stairs, Julie’s eyes pleaded while her mom stood there, a stern look on her face, just watching.

Julie’s spindly arm transferred her crutch to her other hand, grasped the stair rail, and looked up at her mom one more time, tears glistening in her eyes.

Quietly her mom said, “You can do it.”

Other people moved around Julie, giving her a wide berth, unaware of the struggle ensuing in front of my eyes.

Angered, I turned away. How could this mother be so cruel to her own child? Couldn’t she see her little daughter needed help? What kind of mother did this?

I walked away, unable to watch anymore of this drama. The struggle was too discomforting.

Later I found my mom and clearly communicated my disgust. I’ll never forget my mother’s next words,

“Her mom knows that Julie can do it. In fact, she has to do it. Don’t think her mom isn’t concerned or even hurting. Her mom loves her enough to let her struggle.”

Her mom loves her enough to let her struggle.

What? You’ve got to be kidding. That’s not love!

Or is it evidence of the deepest kind of love?

This picture of a mother’s deep love came back to me often when rearing my children.

  • Do I let them struggle or should I help?
  • Would I know if the struggle was too much for my child?
  • Was I being too protective?
  • Was I protective enough?

So many questions. No concrete answers.

Trust your instincts. As a mom who deeply loves her children, I believe God endows each mom with an innate sense for what is best for her children. Will you get it perfect? No. Do you need to be perfect? Absolutely not. But, more often than not, you will get it mostly right if you trust your instincts.

Failure is success. Think about it. When have you learned the most? I bet it’s when you’ve failed miserably at something. Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Our job as moms is to encourage our children to try and fail. By doing so, we teach them a valuable life lesson to not fear failure but rather to learn from it and take the next step.

Give your kids a long rope but hold on to the end. By allowing our children to step out into new territory while they still live under our roof, we teach them to fly while gently holding on to the end of the rope. When they crash, and they will, we are there to help them process what happened, strategize a better way, and move forward. One of the tricky parenting issues is how long should the rope be and when do we finally let go completely?

  • If we protect our kids from any kind of struggle until the time they are ready to leave home, we haven’t equipped them to face the real world. Get out of the helicopter!
  • If we fight their battles every single time, we haven’t taught them to deal with confrontation.
  • If we keep them from taking risks, we’ve instilled fear.
  • If we don’t let them fail, they don’t know how to win.

Her mom loves her enough to let her struggle.

Julie’s mom understood the struggle. She also saw the greater good in the struggle. Julie grew up to be a confident young woman.

Do you love your children enough to let them struggle? What steps can you take today to strengthen your children’s ability to fly? Your heart will soar when they do.

Capture the extraordinary moments in the ordinariness of today.

  • Kirsten D Samuel

    I empower Christian wives to discover they are seen, loved, and heard. These women find the freedom to be who they are beyond their partner’s struggles, and find hope that there is a life worth living.

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