A hero is exactly what every parent hopes to be. We all want to be a hero to our little boy or girl. Heroes swoop down and save the day. Stories are written about them. Many of them are mysterious. Often heroes perform greatly, and their greatness may be quickly forgotten. We sometimes hear stories of heroes on the news. We read about them in magazines, and maybe see a post go viral for a while on social media. It is not my purpose to minimize the heroic actions of a person, but I do want to make this proposition in regards to your children. Be their guide, and you will become their hero.
As parents, we should give more attention to teaching and leading our children. Let us guide them in making wise decisions, and in doing so save them from the consequences of poor decisions. Notice I said guide them. We do not make the decisions for them. They need to feel that autonomy. It is part of their growth and development to seek independence. It’s like bowling with the bumpers up. The guide can keep you out of the gutter, but you’re still bowling.
As an educator I became the guide for many high school students when parents were unwilling to assume the role. This was unfortunate, and in my opinion a missed opportunity for moms and dads. The role of the guide should be the responsibility of the parent. We should not be so quick to pass that off to someone else. These are our children. When obstacles arise, the guide reveals the way. Heroes swoop in and fly right over the obstacle completely. Lessons are never learned this way.
Let’s face it. Our children will make some poor decisions. A guide is going to help them navigate through the consequences of the poor choice. This is a difficult task. Our emotions get caught up in the circumstances. We desperately want to just pull our children out.
I’m reminded of a silly little ride at a Six Flags Theme Park. This ride is called “The Monster Plantation.” You get in a little boat and float through a tunnel that opens up to a world of funny looking creatures. Everyone is having a good time at the plantation until you come up on the monster sheriff holding his hand up, waving, and calling out to you as your boat takes a wrong turn. “Don’t go into the marsh,” he says! You quickly tense up and find yourself surrounded by your worse monster nightmares because you turned into the marsh. Sometimes our children will turn into the marsh, but we can still lead and guide them through it. Then there will be a moment when they look at you, their parent and guide, and realize just how much of a hero you really are. It’s a tough job, but one with huge returns. Let this be a challenge to all parents like me. Let us look for those leadership opportunities. Let us guide our children. This puts us out front and with them, and not hovering over them like a super hero flying through the city. This keeps us present in our relationship with our children. Being their guide means you allow them to become the heroine of their own story while you become a hero to them.
Are you the parent who is always looking for an opportunity to swoop in and save the day, or do you long to be the guide who leads your children through the difficult times?
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