Welcome to Cave School, kids! Two things you may need to know - or at least be reminded of - before understanding the ramblings of the Cavewoman today:
1) Hindenburg: Big, blimp-like, flying contraption that exploded over Lakehurst, New Jersey in 1937, tragically killing over 30 people in the air, as well as over 30 people on the ground.
2) Helicopter Parenting: 21st Century term defining those who struggle with giving their children “space” in life.
I’m thinking today of the tendency many of us have to “hover,” or as my boys use to call it “Smother vs. Mother.” (“Hey, Smother! You don’t need to tell me to wear my seat belt every time I get in the car!”) And even though my children are old enough to travel the globe (see last blog), and therefore cause my hovercraft to want to descend even lower…parents with children of any age can surely understand, if not relate to, the brand of parenting I refer to as, “Hindenburg Parenting.”
This is not actually parenting any of us should aspire to emulate. I pray to the Lord there will not be how-to seminars in our near future. Hopefully, all we need to do to avoid this style is listen and look up.
“No date night for us, honey! The baby is only two and unless it’s drive-through, I just think we would be gone too long.” Ka-boom!
“Oh. My. Gosh! Sleepover?! You’re only 12 and Aunt Judy lives like, I don’t know…five minutes away!” Ka-boom!
“What?! What do you mean you want to go on a mission’s trip with the youth group?! You’re only 16 and what if you come in contact with germs or people who don’t speak English, God forbid!” Ka-boom!
Now, I believe we are all the authorities on our own circumstances. You on yours, and me on mine. So, maybe one of the examples I just stated really could apply to you, and you would be completely justified. Sickly toddler, Aunt Judy is certifiable or a mission’s trip to an area where teens from the States have recently been in grave danger. I get these things. You may absolutely need to hover a bit in these instances. But, most of us know…these are typically exceptional circumstances…not common ones.
My encouragement for any of you out there hovering over your child in the form of a large, dangerously flammable object is simply to let God help you let go. Even if it’s just a little.
For me, it was when the first child hit junior high and started facing things he only wanted to talk to his dad about. “What do you mean you want to wait until dad gets home? What’s wrong?” I asked him. “Mom, I just want to talk to Dad, okay?” “Oh, my word! What’s going on? Is it something bad? Are you alright?” My blimp was near bursting level. “Mom, it’s just…well, sometimes you…well, you freak.”
“What do you mean I freak?! What are you talking about?! You know I love you! You know I’m always here for you!” At this point I should have had a very big clue. Always here for you…boy, that was an understatement. Try always shadowing you like a big, creepy, flammable disaster waiting to happen should you try to grow up or something crazy like that.
“Answer me! What do you mean by ‘freak?’”
The boy in the front passenger seat of my car just looked straight ahead and smiled.
And then I caught a glimpse of his thumb jabbing at the air in my direction.
Thankfully, my blimp has turned into more of a medium-sized, weather-type balloon over the years, as I’ve learned to let the Lord help me decipher healthy concern from unhealthy fear. I like to think of it as yellow in color with a happy face on it.
Our kids want us to be a presence in their lives...just not in the form of a gigantic, combustible zeppelin.
Are there areas of your parenting right not that God wants to help you let go in? Are there any areas you need to really evaluate to make sure you are not stifling your child - or worse yet - hindering them from becoming the person God has made them to be? Have you conquered in some areas of this battle and have good insight to share? Cave people love encouragement! Bring it!