I love the movie “Finding Nemo”. So many wonderful messages for parents.
My favorite moment is when Marlin (Nemo’s father) meets the sea turtles.
These sea turtles have an extremely wise approach to parenting and if you ask me, they must have had some Montessori training at some point.
When the father turtle (Crush) is explaining to Marlin how to know when the young turtles are ready to swim off on their own, the following dialogue is exchanged:
Marlin: “How do you know if they’re ready?”
Crush: “Well, you never really know…but when they know…you know… ya-know?”
It happens in gradual steps:
- You let go of their hands as they take their very first steps.
- You let go of the back of their bicycle seat as they ride off for the first time.
- Getting on the bus the very first day of Kindergarten.
- Leaving for an entire week summer camp.
- Watching them pull away in the car with a brand new drivers license.
- Letting go… as they prepare to leave for college.
How can parents best prepare their kids for life?
There is a wonderful quote about “Roots and Wings” as being the two best gifts a parent can give their children. (WHAT? Not a new car when they turn 16???)
Many parents (including me) are experts at the “roots” part of this equation. We are there for our kids when they need us. We provide them with so much.
Where most of us have room for improvement is the “wings” part. Crush, the father sea turtle, had it all figured out.
Let your kids fail – early and often.
Small mistakes when they are little and the mistakes gradually built to create a wealth of experiences.
When our kids struggle we have the primal urge to swoop in and help. Rushing in to call the school, the teacher, the neighbors, anyone who is creating and uncomfortable situation for our children. Does this ultimately help them? Of course not.
At every age – whenever possible – let them solve their own problems.
At every age – whenever possible – let them fight their own battles.
At every age – whenever possible – let them struggle.
It is no coincidence that many times those that have experienced the most adversity, are ultimately the best prepared to face the challenges that lie ahead.