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    Your Child’s Safety Net

    April 14, 2016 Uncategorized 0 comments

    I recently heard this quote on ABC’s Last Man Standing: The tough balance for any parent is providing a harness to keep our kids safe without taking away the victory of the climb.

    ~ Tim Allen, #LastManStanding

    Anyone who has been a parent any length of time can relate to this statement. Most parents constantly fight an internal battle between the desire for their child to achieve great things and the desire to protect them from harm and failure.

    One of my nieces enjoys indoor rock climbing. Entry-level rock climbing makes use of belay ropes for safety and support. Belays allow a person to embrace the thrill of climbing high but with the peace of mind that someone is holding the rope to keep you from falling. If the person holding the rope is trustworthy, the risk is relatively small.

    Successful parents hold the belay rope for our kids. We encourage our kids to try new things, climb, and succeed while we provide a safety net to prevent serious injury. When we try too hard to protect our kids from failure we deny them the invigorating joy of victory.

    How do we provide this safety net for our kids, yet inspire them to climb higher?

    Each child must know, beyond any doubt, that he can try something new, and whether he succeeds or not, his family loves and will encourage him. We do our children great harm if we allow them to think that we believe they are failures when they stumble at some new attempt. Children need to know that failing does not make someone a failure, but quitting does.

    The Grace Safety Net

    Grace is a word used in church circles, but it has both spiritual and practical implications. When we show grace, which is a readiness to forgive and try again, we model for our kids a valuable lesson. Forgiveness feels good, both for the forgiver and the forgiven. We all need forgiveness, so share a little with your kids.

     

    Be the parent who encourages and challenges your child to new heights. Let him climb. Teach him early that his value is not tied to success or to failure. Don’t equate your child’s value (or your own) to his performance. Be the parent that models courage by holding the belay rope while your child is young but allowing him to try new things, all while maintaining an atmosphere of grace in your home.

    If you prevent your child from experiencing failure it will likely lead to fear of trying. Be the parent who inspires hard work, perseverance, and courage instead of laziness, apathy, and fear.

    “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

    by Jeremy Carroll and Jim Dempsey