Helicopter Parents. Every heard of them? Well, the new thing is “Lawn Mower Parents.” Parents who try to mow the way for their children through life. I prefer to call them “Bulldozer Parents” because they try to bulldoze the way for their children, instead of letting them experience hardship or failure they try to bully their way with everyone that their children come in contact with to make sure that they don’t fail. If they do fail, they then write emails, make nasty phone calls, and try to find answers of why their child was treated the way they were treated, or failed what they were trying to achieve.
Do you know of parents like this? Being in the school system, a coach and a parent myself, I meet these types of parents every day. Don’t get me wrong, it pains me to see any child fail, and especially my own, but failure is a part of shaping a person for adulthood.
Think about your own life. What things do you remember the most about growing up? Is it all your successes or is it all your failures? I know myself it is all my failures! I remember one time, I was competing at the Atlantic Championships in Prince Edward Island, and there was a big storm that day. It was such a big storm that the power went out in the building we were competing in. As luck would have it, the building went black just as I was vaulting, and I smashed right into the vault. Do I remember what I placed overall that year? No. Do I remember what I performed like on the other three events? No. Do I remember anything else about this particular competition? No. The only thing I remember is smashing face first from a full out sprint into the vault! I only remember my failure!
Another thing I won’t forget is failing my Praxis exam for the writing component three times. It was something that I struggled with and constantly failed at. It is also something that I will never forget as long as I live, especially with the irony that now I write daily blogs spreading God’s word.
We are all children of God, and is God a Bulldozer Parent? Absolutely not, and he tells us that in the Bible. He wants us to experience hardships. He wants us to learn to work through trials. That is how we grow into become the person that he has designed us to be.
He explains to us in James 1:2-4, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” We are all tested, and if we last through the test we will become what he is creating us to be.
Watching your children fail is very heartbreaking—I think my parents got used to it, because I failed a lot! My parents never once went to the school to take up for me, my parents never once tackled a coach because I didn’t make a team. My parents never once told me I deserved to be on a team when I didn’t make it. My parents gave me the best advice! You have to use your failures as a lesson and learn where you have to improve so that you will make the team next time.
Children are going to grow up sometime and have to realize they aren’t going to get the scholarship they want, or that they aren’t going to get into the university program they want to take. Maybe they aren’t going to get their dream job. As heartbreaking as it sounds, their marriages aren’t going to go the way they thought. You are their parents, and your job is to teach them how to survive on their own, not bulldoze the path of their lives. Are you going to go to the university and bulldoze their path there? Are you going to bulldoze their marriage? Are you going to bulldoze their jobs? Hopefully, the answer is no.
Everyone has different parenting styles, and I understand that, but I like to model mine after that of our Father in Heaven. He gives us trials to make us stronger, to sharpen our swords, to make us learn from our mistakes. He doesn’t bulldoze our way, he gives us trials so that we will mold into the creatures he wants us to be. Love your kids like our Divine Creator loves us, and do them a favor. Let them fail! It’s going to make them into the amazing people they were created to be!