Saturday, February 6, 2010

Roots and Wings

A famous Chinese proverb states, "It is the wise parent who gives his child roots and wings."  Sage advice, but a lot harder than it sounds.  Ideally, we all want to give our kids a solid foundation, great self esteem, confidence, life skills, manners, experiences and an education that enables them to become strong independant people.  People with wings.
Unfortunately, finding that balance can be hard.  Because they don't just wake up one moring and grow wings.  We have to give them little test flights along the way.  And therein lies the hard part.  Knowing how much leeway and freedom to give along the way, and trying to decide how much they can handle.
I've been trying to give himself some more freedom at gymnastics, trying to stay in the parent's waiting area, with the large windows, just a hand signal away from the coach.  But it's tough!  If he goes in by himself, he is practising independance, and interacting with another adult without my help.  But, on the other hand, he isn't participating as much in the actual gymnastics....which is more important?  I find that I'm always trying to decide what my goal is, what to prioritize.
I wonder how it might be different when Margaret is old enough to be "in stuff"....I notice how other parents can stress about having their kids enrollled in enough different activities, but they don't seem to stress about how their kids will behave or perform in all of these activities.  I guess my goals are different.  I don't actually really care if Aiden becomes a pro gymnast, skater, swimmer, soccer player, artist, etc....I just want him to have the skills that allow him to participate,and ensure that he gets to play and interact with his peers on a regular basis.
Maybe I should forget about the wings for awhile.  Perhaps I should set my sights on a parachute, or a hang glider for the time being.  Let him soar, feel the winds push him along, but less freefall.
Hmmmmm....being a wise parent is hard.


  1. This is the most difficult task in parenting. I always worry: do I give my daughter enough freedom? Am I too strict in other areas? To find a balance is a key. I try to watch what she is really interested in and comfortable with, and yes, I guess we glide.

  2. Good luck to you Natalie. I am not a parent, but knew people who had autistic children, and it took so much dedication, well as it should anyone's child I would imagine. I guess you have a different set of goals, and for that reason, and probably others, it's different for you. Nicely written post by the way.. and again, best wishes to you and the family for progress and success.