Saturday, August 08, 2015

More Steward Than Protector

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I am like any parent in that a big part of my job description and a big part of how my heart works is that I need to protect my kids.  When we discovered that the way Asher's feet are turned was causing him to rub multiple layers of skin off of his pinky toes, my heart sank from this relatively minor wound.  I have been known to have "mama bear" moments when I feel someone is endangering Jada or Aaron.  I often lay awake contemplating some present or future harm that could befall one of them, and strategizing about how to keep them from that harm.

And yet, for all of that visceral impulse, I consider myself more steward than protector.  Perhaps it is because I have adopted and not birthed these kids, that my perspective of parenting is less that they are extensions of me that I must preserve and more that they are little birds and I've been entrusted with the responsibility of helping them soar.  When they need protection, I protect them; but when there is a choice between protecting them and giving them space to grow, even if it means struggle or failure or pain, I almost always choose to not protect them. 

This may be related to me being an INTJ on the Myers-Briggs personality scale (we are considered to be less moved by our own pain or that of others, sublimating such things to pursue a greater cause).  Or is it the fact that being a "Tiger Dad" means that suffering and hardship is part of the business model?  My own childhood and my own faith journey have deeply impressed upon me the necessity of the kinds of things that many parents naturally and rightfully are loath to expose their kids to, like loss or devastation or crisis or shame. 

I'm sure my kids know that I love them to death and would run through a brick wall to help them.  But I also want them to build muscle to become emotionally and spiritually resilient, to not wilt from pressure or pain but learn to embrace both as part of the journey and part of the growth.  Little birds, soar!
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