Helicopters and Lawnmowers

                                                                        –2 Tim. 3:5

     I took the day off last Monday and spent some time climbing Pinnacle (a hill near Little Rock, AR).  Since I was a bit behind on some reading I wanted to do, I packed up an exercise pad to sit on, a bottle of water, and took off.  To my dismay I discovered that several local schools had their sights on enjoying the state park as well which meant things were far from peaceful.  While the crowded conditions were not ideal for catching up in my book, they did provide ample opportunity for eavesdropping.  I don’t know if you’ve ever climbed Pinnacle, but there’s a pretty steep 700’ rise in elevation: not all that easy for someone as out of shape as I.  As I sat there on top attempting to read, group after group stumbled to the top and spent several minutes trying to catch their breath while taking in the view.  Almost to the point of cliché, one of the climbers who struggled mightily will inevitably utter the words, “I wish they’d install an elevator.”

     Let’s consider that for just a minute.  Who would ever really consider that to be a good idea?  The ridiculous cost of such a project is enough to dismiss it without a second thought, but what about the underlying interests?  What is actually being said is not, “I want an elevator,” but “I want the reward without the effort,” or “I don’t want to have to struggle or even work hard to get what I want.”  In case you think I’m being rough on those climbers, know that we’re actually talking about parenting here.

     Several terms have come to be used to describe parents with this mentality; “helicopter parents,” “lawnmower parents,” and even “curling parenthood.”  These are parents who hover (like a helicopter) over their children, keeping a watchful eye on them so they never fail.  Or they are parents who smooth out the path ahead of their kids, removing all obstacles (like a lawnmower cutting the grass or sweepers in the sport of curling.)

     I understand the desire to see our children succeed, but often we work so hard at eliminating the bumps and bruises that we stand in the way of growth…the very thing we think we’re providing.  So let me encourage you to put aside your worrying tendencies (cf. Matt 6:26) and rest in the fact that God’s perfect parenting style did not include a trouble-free life for His children, just a promise that He would be there for them in the midst of the storms.

                                                          Joe Chesser

                                  “Windsong Notes,” Little Rock, AR


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