Remember when you would play that game with your wee ones? Maybe you still do.
Promising them you WOULD be there. You WOULD catch them. You would NOT let them fall. And you didn't.
Our babies. Our toddlers. Our small people. We would never forget them at school. Or fail to feed them. Yes, there is always the occasional failure...we are human after all. However, for the most part, we are their lifeline. They trust us. For everything.
But what about your teens? Would they play that game with you today? Do they really believe that you won't let them fall?
Failed follow through.
These things weigh heavily on a child. Yet they still trust. Or do they?
My oldest daughter and I traveled to Washington DC a couple weeks ago. I witnessed that trust, that dependency, in full force. And quite frankly it hit me...huge.
I know she counts on me to drive her places, or make sure there's food, or help with her homework. But I realized how much she still...dare I say..needs me.
It is different now. She's not JUST looking for me to do everything, but she is still watching and learning.
Can I be honest? I don't care for travel. It's too much unknown, too much "figuring" out. Fortunately, I have the best husband on the planet. He arranged our entire trip to DC. Our flights. Our hotel. Everything. But even though he gave me the framework, I still needed to get us to and from the airport...and around town. It stressed me out. I was nervous. Apprehensive. But I didn't want her to know. I wanted her to feel safe. Secure. I wanted this trip to be all it was intended to be for her.
And then I watched her. She just followed me. Believed in me. Trusted me. Wow.
I think we as parents have such a huge responsibility to teach them independence. But they still need us...to catch them.
Our son is almost 18. An adult, technically. Yet, each weekend he gets in a car with my husband and travels to play ball games in cities all over. He never gives a thought to where the games are held, or where they will stay. He blindly trusts his dad to lead him. We give him plenty of opportunities to make his own decisions and exercise his freedom, but he still needs us. And he trusts us to be there. To care for the details. Although, HE will not admit it! :)
photo cred. Anneke Taylor Lehmann
Often, we as parents get frustrated as we think they SHOULD know more. Do more. Make wiser choices. Be more "adult-like". But please, let's not forget as we lead and guide and teach...consciously or not...they still have moments of falling backwards and saying "catch me?". Not in a rescue sort of way, but a teaching sort of way.
Parents of little ones...you want that. Believe me. So build that trust. Maintain it. When you fail...acknowledge it.
Long story short, I sweat - I mean truly sweat - my way through figuring out a shuttle, a train, a subway and all sorts of maneuvers through DC. Anneke followed me. She believed I would get her where we needed to go. She felt safe. At the end she said, "Now I know how to do all of this. And if I have to figure this out someday when I'm in college I won't be nervous!"
Her trust in me, gave her confidence for the future. I love that. And my friend, that alone was worth every beady drop of sweat.
So, will you catch them? Do they believe that you will? Let's play.