Rosella, “Give them space to venture out, even if you are a bit worried.” Tip 6
Rosella is a retired teacher. She’s raised three children, now ranging in age from 38 – 46. Rosella believes parenting was a “wonderful privilege.”
As many of us learn, Rosella was quick to admit the teen years were rough. She remained focused on obedience, respect, and ambition. Her children are now well into adulthood, her focus is always being there for them.
When I read Rosella’s tip #6, “Give them space to venture out, even if you are a bit worried,” I was reminded of yet another “milk story.” (I’ve realized I have a few “milk stories.)
This milk-story took place when Michael was about 5. Not unlike my “tree story,” I was again a bit too hasty, and premature, with another teachable moment.
I remember thinking, this task might be a little much but maybe not. I sent him into the corner store to pick up a carton of milk. I coached him on where to find it, what color to buy, how to pay, to wait for change, I covered every detail. I pulled in front of the store and in he went.
Upon entry, I noticed, the door was a little too heavy. He made it! Then, I waited with baited breath, for what seemed like hours. I remember thinking of a million horrors that could have been taking place. I considered busting in and saving him, but held on tight to allow his success.
Out came my little boy. Oh my! What the clerk must have thought. He could barely lift that two-liter carton. Likely it was too high for him to reach, and it was definitely too heavy, not to mention he also had to push open that door. I felt like the biggest idiot.
I reached for the car door to open it for him. Grabbed the milk from his hand, he jumped in. He was beaming! I snicker to this day, while shamefully shaking my head.
Michael knew it was a huge undertaking. What he didn’t know was, his Mother had ridiculous judgment.
Michael likely felt, in some sub-conscious or conscious way, I believed in him enough to give him this enormous task. Based on his posture, he was feeling very ‘manly.’
Rosella’s point is well taken. It’s one I continued to uphold, although not always perfectly timed. I tend to think it’s better to assign a larger task a little too early, maybe not that early. Doing so will facilitate confidence within them, and build their capacity.
Typically I did expect a lot from Michael, at times too much maybe. I’ve heard it said, if you raise the bar high, they will meet it every time. I found that to be true. I worked to create opportunities for self-mastery, some big and some small, and some premature.
Today Michael creates his own opportunities for self-mastery. Even since his injury, he has participating in two fundraisers rappelling from large city buildings. Maybe, that two liters of milk was the beginning of him realizing he could do anything!
Now that I think of it, he did have a similar prideful look in his eyes after scaling that 22-storey building. : D