Forbes.com put out a list of damaging parenting behaviors that keep children from becoming leaders. Things like “We don’t let our kids experience risk,” “We rescue too quickly,” “We rave too easily,” “We don’t share our past mistakes,” etc.
I’m all for letting my kid fail, and thus learn. But there’s a fine line between letting him fend for himself, and not being keenly aware of his science fair project.
Don’t get me wrong. For weeks, he’s been growing seeds to prove a hypothesis regarding soil and light. He’s documented findings, photographed evidence, and typed conclusions.
But the day before it’s due, he says he needs to get together a presentation board. I ask what this entails and he begins, “I need to go to Michaels and get tri-fold …”
I don’t know if it was “Michaels” or “tri-fold” that made me black out a little. But I know how this goes. He gets the tri-fold poster board, and THEN begins brainstorming themes, as he meanders around the scrapbooking aisles. This could take hours.
“Let our kids experience risk” – Check. But I do take this moment to explain that waiting until the last minute is foolish, that something could go wrong and it might not get done. And he asks, “What could go wrong?”
Hmm, let’s see. For starters, its a science FAIR, which means every kid in fifth grade is gonna be looking for tri-fold poster board. How many Michaels, in how many counties, are we gonna have to hit for this thing? Not to mention, I have a column due tomorrow.
What if my car battery’s dead, or I don’t have cash, or the fact I need to be home coming up with a column idea, I’m on deadline.
What about your documents on my laptop, my computer could crash. The printer could get jammed – or run out of paper, or ink, or the will to print. And if you’re on my laptop, how am I supposed to write my piece?
You could get the flu and be too sick to refresh my memory on photosynthesis. Or worse, I could get sick and not be able to help you find glue OR write my column. We could have a fire or lose power, and then where would either one of us be?
“Don’t rescue too quickly” – Check. But do figure something out fast, because we’re running out of time. “We rave too easily” – Yes, but we need encouragement. I tell him he’s got what he needs to make a stellar presentation. And he tells me he sees me crash my column last minute every week and I can do this.
So he does his project, and I write about it. “We don’t share past mistakes” – don’t know what that means, but seeing as how we both pulled it out in the 11th hour, obviously I’m teaching him something …