to help, or not to help?


A little boy was having difficulty lifting a heavy stone.

His father came along just then.

 Noting the boy’s failure, he asked, “Are you using all your strength?”

 ”Yes, I am,” the little boy said impatiently.

 ”No, you are not,” the father answered.

 ”I am right here just waiting, and you haven’t asked me to help you.”

Something about this story gets me every time.

I learned when my children were young(er) the disservice I do them by doing for them.  So, I’ve been thinking deeply about this story.

We want our children to know we am here to help them if needed, but also to feel confident in their own abilities.

We want them to have inner strength, but also to feel comfortable reaching out to their community.

Seems to me that there’s a fine line between being available and becoming a crutch.

Notice: the father in the story didn’t jump in to help his son, or just take over the project.  He didn’t offer advice about all the possible ways the boy might approach the dilemma.

He was waiting for the child to notice the strength surrounding him, always, if he chooses to draw upon it.

This difference is everything; empowering vs. dis-empowering, trusting vs. judging, patience vs. impatience.

My brain is still clicking away, thinking about this story and it’s implications for parenting.

What do you think?  Leave a comment below, and let me know!