Before I had my son, I made many observations about how other people were choosing to parent their children. Some good, some not so great. One thing I noticed often (and still do today) is parents who “gasp” when their child stumbles on the sidewalk, which causes the otherwise unaffected child to stop, think about their parent’s response and suddenly break out in tears because of that response.
The other thing I noticed is the destructive behaviour of “helicopter” parents. These are the parents who in the interest of “protecting” their child, or a desire to shape their future with their own personal agenda, would manage their childrens’ lives like a puppeteer. I have friends who grew up with parents like these and, as adults who are no longer in the “care and feeding” environment of said parents, have had difficulty adjusting and making decisions on their own. It’s quite sad because how can one grow if they are not allowed to make decisions, whether right or wrong ones?
With every decision we make… we grow. Good decisions set us on the right path and provide us with rewards. Not so good decisions reward us in a different way. They help us recognize what not to do in the future. Both are equally rewarding in their own way.
It’s not just the parent/child relationships in our lives that can be affected by “helicopter” behaviour. It’s every relationship we are involved in where in the interest of keeping things “safe”, or trying to create our “personal reality”, we attempt to place our influence on the outcome of the lives of those around us. The question is… is this good or bad? I have been struggling with this lately, and here is where I ended up.
I believe that it’s good to help someone achieve their goals, but they need to be the ones to define them, and they need to make the decisions about how they want to get there, including the timing as to when they expect the outcome to occur. We all accomplish our goals different ways based on our personal perception of the world and how it works. Just because the people we love don’t always see the same path from point A to point B that we do, doesn’t mean we won’t end up in the same place eventually. And, we may even learn something from each other from the different paths we travel… adding even more perspective to that relationship.
When we interfere with someone else’s flow of life because our plan doesn’t exactly match theirs, we are interfering with their life’s plan. We may be getting in the way of them learning a very important lesson, and trust me…. it will come back up for them over and over again until we let them experience it fully and get to the other side. We have to let the people we love “fall down” and realize that life goes on, and we get stronger every day because we empower ourselves and others to make decisions… decisions that shape who we are and make us better people. If we get too controlling, their karmic life lessons will not only continue to repeat themselves, but will ultimately manifest as lessons we need to resolve in our own lives.
It may hurt us to watch the people we love fall down, but know that every time we step in to “rescue” them we are are interfering with their ability to grow. This is the hardest lesson to learn as a parent. Our job is to protect our children from harm, and you could say the same about all those we love. However, there is fine line between “protecting” and being a controlling “helicopter” because we are trying to manipulate the outcome.
Someone told me a story about a little boy who brought home a caterpillar from school and told his parents his teacher said it would eventually turn into a butterfly. The little boy could not wait as he watched the caterpillar spin his little shell around him. He waited and watched… and grew more impatient to see the butterfly. Finally he could not wait any longer. He wanted to see that butterfly so badly that he tore into the shell, killing the life inside. His parents were left to explain that through his selfish need to see the final result too soon, he did not give the caterpillar enough time and space to evolve to the beautiful butterfly it was meant to be.
My goal today is to “allow” more butterflies.
Love and Light,