On a very wet and rainy morning I was taking my two youngest kids to their grandparents before I headed to work. I wasn’t late yet, but I was driving right at the speed limit definitely on the verge of rushing. It was a two lane country road with several turns and by-streets. As I came around a corner I noticed a truck about to pull out of a driveway and their little yapping chihuahua was in the road in front of them. I was keeping an eye on the small dog and noticed another car was heading toward me on the other lane. As some of these tiny terrors tend to do, the chihuahua was not backing down and kept barking and was inching closer to my side of the road. My instinct told me to press hard on the brakes and when I did I suddenly felt a shaking on my brake pedal and pressure against my foot. I couldn’t press down on my brake but just a tiny bit so I had to grip my steering wheel and just pray the little guy stayed out from in front of my car. He did and I made it around safely. As I looked in my rear view mirror I could still see the dog barking in the road and the other car had to completely stop and drive around it.
It was then that I realized I had been only a split second from making a horrible mistake of slamming on my brakes in this ultimately wet weather and slick roads. My technologically-driven car prevented me from making the wrong decision and kept me and my children safe.
Wouldn’t it be great if no one ever made mistakes. I mean, if no one was ever allowed to make mistakes? What a safe and successful world that would be? But that isn’t how life really is. We don’t have a digital computer telling us throughout our life ‘No, don’t do that; here’s the best way.’
When we do make mistakes, we need to learn from them and try our best not to make those same ones again.
Our children will make mistakes in life. The best thing we can do for them is allow them to suffer the consequences. Obviously I’m not talking about consequences that will allow for injury or illness. I mean, the type of consequences that will help them learn from their mistakes; teach them to not make that same mistake again. As a teacher, I come in contact with what we call ‘helicopter parents.’ These are the moms and dads or guardians who swoop in real fast and save their children from whatever they are being reprimanded for or held responsible for at school. It may be a bad grade; the teacher didn’t teach it right; a discipline problem; my kid didn’t do that or it was the other student’s fault.
Making every decision for them is not teaching them some of life’s most important lessons. And when they make mistakes, fixing it for them is also not going to prepare them for the next obstacle they face.
Children need discipline. They want it. Discipline is love. It is preparing them for their future in this world.