An old man hired a young man to come and help him build an orchard on a mountain. They divided the land into halves, each responsible for growing and caring for the tree’s on their half of the mountain.
After working closely with thousands of kids and their families for the past 18 years, the story shared with me by a co-worker seems more poignant and applicable for our kids than ever before. Far too many times parents focus on the immediate fruit of their kids and disregard their long term growth and roots. While the intention is well-placed, many times we fall short of allowing for the kind of growth and maturation that is essential for our kids. What do I mean by this and what do I believe we need to do for our kids to help them grow strong deep roots that are capable of weathering the storms without us?
- Take a Chance
When we as parents over protect and over parent our children, we limit the opportunity for our kids to take chances and risk. The act taking risks and chances gives them the opportunity to gain independence, create memorable moments and leads to one of the most valuable lessons of all….failure.
- Failure is Good
Failure is one of the most powerful opportunities for personal growth. And by the way, it is inevitable. When we fail we open the door for success after that failure. And rest-assured, realizing you can succeed at something after you have failed places roots deep in a ground that is required for healthy adulthood.
- Enabling: A Disease
The act of enabling our children is like stealing their natural potential right out from underneath their feet. Enabling our kids prevents them from taking responsibility for their environment and themselves. The act of enabling our kids stems from our own fears and in the end is a selfish parenting act that robs them of real growth, responsibility and maturation.
- Walk the Walk
You can talk Shakespeare till you are blue in the face. If you walk Mark Twain, your Mark Twain to your kid. My point here is, all the things we need to do to teach our kid to grow deep roots needs to first be sowed by our actions and then by our words. As a parent, our example is the most powerful mentor for our children. Practice what you preach.
Great leaders are not born, they simply had great mentors. If our goal is to raise our children to be strong and happy people who can respond to adversity and weather any storm, then we must give them the tools to do so. We must love them with all our heart but that love must not be without intelligence and purpose. For when we teach our children to grow roots deep into the ground, we give them the foundation to be the best they can be and in return, they will foster a similar growth for their own children.