I am so guilty of this, helping my kids do everything. All day long I chirp the same things: “Do you need help?” “Do you need me?” “Can I help you with that?” “Can I do it for you?”
Why can’t I trust them to do it on their own? Is it my own perfectionism getting in the way of their independence? When they pour the milk on their own, it spills, but it gets done. When they tie their own shoes it takes forever, but they are learning by repetition. When they wipe their own butts…well, you get the point.
Butterflies helped out of their chrysalis don’t survive. They need the struggle of beating their wings to break free, to live, strengthened for the road ahead. They emerge damp, wings folded, but are soon ready to venture off into the world, much like our children. We want more than anything for them to succeed and grow into strong, independent, responsible, kind human beings. If we help them every step of the way, it will make it easier for them now, but in the long run we are selling them short. They need to learn to do things for themselves, to become accountable, to gain self-confidence, to take pleasure in their own accomplishments.
It is hard not to help, but I am trying to let it go, this need of mine to do it all, to make it perfect, to help, help, help. Often my children surprise me, accomplishing things I would never expect; waking up and making breakfast for everyone, cleaning their rooms without being asked, mastering a pogo stick, navigating the tricky waters of friendship.
Flowers given water and sunlight flourish. They thrive. They don’t need much. Children are just as simple. A little love and space and they too will soar.