Giving this guy the space to run free – a pretty beautiful space
As a mama, it can be so tempting to try to control everything. I love my kiddos so much that I want to do all that’s in my power to create a safe, healthy environment where they can thrive. Add my son’s severe food allergies to the mix, and you can imagine both the heightened need (and desire) to manage every little detail.
While our circumstances do dictate that we manage many factors closely, at the same time, I am keenly aware that one of the greatest gifts I can give my children is the agency and ability to make healthy responsible decisions for themselves.
There’s that old proverb: “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.” It’s cliche but there’s truth in it, truth that I believe applies especially to raising our little ones into healthy, capable adults.
Because of that, we try to provide our kids the space to stretch sometimes. We try to give them opportunities to rise up to challenges and increasing levels of responsibility. For example, when they wanted to use the same dishes Mommy and Daddy used at the table, explaining to them the importance of being careful and then actually letting them use the glassware instead of the plastic (no one’s broken anything yet). Or when my 22-month-old wants to “do it myself,” giving her the opportunity to try. Or even just this week, letting my son eat his lunch at school with his friends, after he expressed that he wanted to try and would make sure he only ate his own food (with his teacher nearby) – a big step for us given the severity of his allergies.
It’s scary sometimes (all the time). When I think too far ahead or look at what’s going on around us in this world, I sometimes feel overwhelmed. But by making measured decisions and giving them opportunities to grow, try, fail, and also succeed in a safe space, my hope is it will empower them to reach their potential in the long run. And what better opportunity to let our kids learn to fly than while they are still under our wing.