Someone I love had a run in with one of THOSE parents this week. You know the ones—we used to call them helicopter parents, hovering over their kids. Then they were lawnmower parents, smoothing the way for their kids. While I’ve silently fumed a bit over this, I’ve been picturing these parents more of frontloader parents. Somewhere beyond lawnmower parents smoothing the way, to people who do so much for their kids and just run right over whatever they perceive to be a threat or obstacle…whether it is or not. I feel for their kids, who’ll never learn what it is to be confident in their abilities. Who probably get run over, too. I feel for the teachers and coaches who end up working with these kids in spite of their parents’ interference, and do the best they can even though they probably get griped at all. the. time.
Ugh. I’m an involved parent, maybe even too involved at times, I get it. Maybe that’s why I see these people so clearly, because there but for the grace of God go I.
Parents, let your kids fail. And let them succeed. And let them be bored. Let them be left out. All of these things build character, and build future leaders. You are getting in their way by clearing the way for them, shoving everyone out of the way so your baby can get where you think they should go. The world is going to eat their lunch. And they’ll be miserable while it happens. Just as, I suspect, you are miserable, too.
We have a saying around here that’s taken me out of organizations, out of a job, out of a ministry, even: wherever you go, there you are. If you keep encountering the same problem everywhere you go…perhaps YOU are the problem. It probably isn’t true that every teacher does X or every other kid treats your kid Y…probably the problem is your attitude. Your expectations. Your frustration and bitterness.
But enough about you. For the rest of us, let’s commit to loving these parents (and especially their kids!) anyway. Let’s be the hands and feet of Jesus, even when our human hands want to smack them. They won’t learn anything if we return the attitude—but maybe, just maybe, love will make a difference. It will surely make a difference to me.