What do paragliding and parenting teens have in common?Sep 05, 2021
It was a beautiful weekend in New Jersey! People were outside as Spring Fever ruled the day! As I was walking, I witnessed the event in the video, and all kinds of thoughts and emotions came up.
It reminded me of parenting teens and young adults.
1. We want them to fly, AND it's sometimes scary to let go. Our natural instinct is to protect and keep them safe. Our brains are really good at keeping us safe and our families safe, we don't have to work hard at that!
Now more than ever, the parents I work with have thoughts about all that can go wrong in the world. Let's face it, the world has become a bit hostile lately! What we need to remember is that there is “nothing new under the sun”. Sin and hostility may be packaged differently, but the world always has been full of sinners, the only difference is the pace at which it comes at us. As Christians, we need to learn how to live in this sinful world and shine brightly for Christ. Just like this device, it is both scary and exciting!
2. Like this man controls his powered paraglider with a bunch of strings, we as parents of teens, often have lots of strings attached! One of the common mistakes I see parents making is that when their teens start to pull away, they cling tighter. This just increases the tug of war between frustration and control. I help parents in a very specific way begin the process of loosening the strings in a very specific way, that neither their child nor themselves feel uncared for.
3. Another lesson I gleaned from this walk was the emotions I felt as I put myself in that glider. I thought to myself, that would be a hard landing if it crashed!!! As parents, we have some of the same fears about our kids messing up. What if they crash?
My thought here is not what if….but when. We all make mistakes and have failures in life, some bigger than others. We are not perfect humans. What if we changed the way we see failures and mistakes? What if we looked at them as learning opportunities and gleaned the lessons that accompany them? What if there was no shame in the mistake, but thoughtful evaluation and reflection?
Some of my greatest lessons have come from the times I did not succeed in meeting my goals.
Just a few thoughts to ponder today.
PS: I love working with Moms and helping them through this parenting transition and preparing for the empty nest!