Teach Your Children Well or Lose the Helicopter

Our pastoral staff just completed a summer series of teaching on parenting. I actually got out my acoustic guitar and sang Graham Nash’s song (Crosby, Stills, and Nash) “Teach Your Children” to help cap off the series.

I have always loved the parallelism of “teach your children” and “teach your parents”. We actually do learn from each other.

The next line is “feed them on your dreams.”

It doesn’t say live out your dreams through them.

Yesterday’s reading through my news feed contained a post on Big Think about Helicopter Parenting. Click the link and check out the infographic.

Helicopter parenting comes from the concept of one or both parents continually hovering over their kids. They just can’t turn them loose to learn to become independent, self-functioning adults.

It hurts the child. The infographic points out a number of dysfunctions among the children victims of these bad parenting practices.

I’ve had some involvement with athletics since I was quite small. Never even close to a star athlete, I could play tennis reasonably well and could run fast. But I started umpiring baseball at all levels at age 16. Even at that age i saw dads living out their dreams through their sons. It turned my stomach back then.

Then as I got deeper into soccer, I have seen countless parents, especially moms, who do everything for the kids except actually get out on the pitch and make the calls. I trust these kids to go out and be referees or assistant referees. Yet, they cannot call me for assignments. Mom must do the calling. Mom checks up. Mom calls to complain.

I’d tell them, if you’re old enough to referee, you’re old enough to contact me to either pick up a game or tell me why you have to drop a game.

The dad of a kid coming into the area to attend college actually called me several times to get him signed up and get “good” games. Guess what? The kid got a bad reputation among other referees before he crashed and burned and disappeared from the scene.

Let’s make it a spiritual discipline to try to parent in such a way as to let our kid (and grandkids) grow up strong and independently functioning adults. And help other kids, too, while we’re at it.

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