This is the time of year, EVERY YEAR when we say “I cannot believe how this year has flown by. Is it Christmas already?” That means the new year, and New Year’s Resolutions, are just around the corner.
Parents, I have a new year’s resolution to propose you adopt in 2019: don’t ‘cut the chrysalis’ this year. Instead, ensure your child experiences the tension and struggles that are designed to make them stronger and ready for the next season in their life.
We all know that a caterpillar, through a miraculous process designed by the Creator, transforms from an egg to a larva to a chrysalis (often referred to as the cocoon) to an adult butterfly. That process includes a time of intense, uncomfortable struggle, as the insect strains against the confines of the chrysalis to emerge with fully developed wings, strengthened by the struggle.
As an educator for 30+ years, I have watched a couple of generations of students and parents navigate the transforming time known as adolescence. And, doggone it, it is a struggle. Having raised three of my own, I know first hand the struggles that are part and parcel of raising a child to adulthood. And I know first hand the temptation to try to smooth the path, to try to remove the pain or minimize the consequence our child feels as a result of a poor choice or being ill-prepared…or just being beat out by someone who is better at what they want to do.
In my experience, the most successful kids, the ones best prepared for the next season in life, were the ones whose parents let them fully take responsibility for their actions. These parents resisted the temptation to excuse away bad decisions made by their son or daughter. I’m not saying that they abandoned their kids to suffer injustice, but instead these wise parents would hold back from smoothing the path for their children. They would let them strain to pick up the pieces of a poor grade or a rebuffed friendship, or the disappointment when a coach put someone else in before them.
Of course, as parents, we want to be the champion and chief cheerleader of our kids. But most times, if we ensure that our kids know we love them and accept them for who they are, they will come out stronger when THEY are the ones to make their case with a teacher, administrator or coach. And if the outcome or decision is not what they want, give them the benefit of hearing from you something along the lines of “You will survive. I know it seems unfair right now, but in the long run, find a way for this to make you stronger.”
So in 2019 let your child ‘fight their battles’; let them lose a privilege or face the consequences for bad behavior at school; let them ride the bench and experience the yearning to be out there contributing – perhaps that is the fire needed to truly give their best in practice to earn a spot on the court or field.
By resolving to not cut the chrysalis in 2019 you are giving your kids the best chance to spread their wings and soar in the next season of their lives.