Beyond The Helicopter Parent

Executive Director of non-profit agency to job candidate, “Congratulations. I would like to offer you this position. Can you start Monday?”

Candidate, “First before I accept, my mother must interview you.”

She didn’t get the job.

I’ve written, probably many times, about my experiences assigning soccer referees to games over the past 25 years.

I’ve tried “Rachel needs to call” or “Jeremy must go to this website and fill out the form” or whatever.

That’s too subtle. Mom never gets it, and sometimes is offended that I suggest that her precious darling actually show some initiative to get the games. After all, I’m expecting them to be professional arriving at the site, making decisions, helping manage the game.

Earlier this season there was a young, new referee who obviously didn’t want to be there. Probably was told there was money to be made. I wouldn’t be surprised if I found out that dad or mom did the online course work before the classroom session.

So, I was told about the “snowplow” parent who goes beyond hovering like a helicopter into the territory of removing all obstacles. Researching that term, I discovered another term–“lawnmower” parenting. Same idea.

This does the kid no good. It’s a good way, I guess, to breed dependency. But that’s a bad thing. Who wants a society of weak, dependent people?

I guess they never took to heart the ancient story of the butterfly.

A child brought a cocoon to a wise guru. “What is this?” The guru told him. And he continued, “Watch this cocoon and soon you will see a beautiful butterfly come out. But you must not help it when it is leaving the cocoon.”

Later the child brought the cocoon and a dead butterfly to the guru. The guru said, “You helped the butterfly get out, didn’t you? You see, child, the butterfly must struggle and beat its wings against the walls of the cocoon in order to gain enough strength to leave the cocoon and fly.”

So it is with us. It is in the facing and overcoming of obstacles and challenges that we become stronger–physically and spiritually.

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