Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sometimes, a band aid just isn't enough...

"Too much of our effort is expended finding solutions for symptoms. We are often unwilling, or unable to do the hard work of taking measure of the problem first. Thus our actions are akin to placing band-aids on life threatening wounds." (Dr. Alan Pue, The Barnabas Connection)

The above quote is probably one of my most favorite. To take one step further though; as a parent not only do I pray to recognize that a quick fix will not be a true solution to any difficulties my children may be experiencing but I also pray THEY are taught to recognize situations as adults and learn how to cope with them as well. Blaming our surroundings and circumstances is easy and shying away from responsibility for own decisions and circumstances is definitely not the most favored route, I know.

I grew up in a home where my parents were involved in various aspects of Christian ministry whether it was in the Church or in Christian Education. In the first few years of our Marriage, my husband, Walt served in various fields of Christian/Church ministry as well. There were so many incidents where I would get upset that parents were constantly protecting their children from their poor decisions and making excuses for them. But it wasn't until I was a parent that I realized just how easy it is to want to blame my child's environment to protect his well-being. As harsh as it may seem though, I feel it can be a detrimental teaching to constantly protect them from any consequences (no one said being a parent is easy). If we as a parent are trying to protect their emotional stability so much that they never learn disappointment, failure, heartache (just a few examples); we aren't teaching them in any way how to cope. There is a process to behavioral learning and a lot of it is through experience. My job as their parent, is to be attentive and assist them in learning how to cope through our sometimes messy lives. I don't intend for this to sound like the old fashion way of learning to swim by just throwing them in the pool and say, "Ok, it's time to sink or swim, buddy!". But be there as a guide for them. My Dad has said, "you manage situations, you lead people".

When our oldest was born, the movie "Finding Nemo" had just opened. When he was just a few weeks old, our first date night was to see this huge blockbuster of a movie. The start of the movie focuses on a Father wanting to protect his son so much that he even mentions he was trying to protect him so nothing would happen to him; in response to this statement, Dory (my favorite of the story) replies, "well, how is anything going to happen to him?". I know it's Disney and all, but this movie had a huge impact on us. We can put band aids on situations as the parent to try to protect them, but where will they be as an adult? Have they learned to handle situations of difficulty?