We owe a lot of our modern conveniences to the humble bulldozer. These heavy pieces of machinery clear unwanted obstacles out of the way (using it’s dozer blade), allowing quick and easy passage for less equipped vehicles. Off-roading is fun, but when I need to get somewhere, I’m thankful that a fleet of bulldozers has forged ahead of me and made the road smooth and obstacle free.
What applies to roads doesn’t always apply to parenting.
One of the tenets of modern parenting is to be a bulldozer in the lives of children – knocking debris out of the way to make the life of the child as easy as possible.
While this can be a very beneficial thing in the life of the child, over dozing can lead to short term gains and long term setbacks. In the short term, parents can benefit their child by never letting them wrestle with decisions, priorities, and consequences of their actions. However, the long term ramifications of sheltering children from all of the rough spots of life can lead them to be completely unprepared for all the challenges, pain, and difficult dilemmas that mark the reality of life.
Parents, yes, make the way smooth for your child. Yes, handle difficult situations your child isn’t ready for. Yes, do everything you can to make your child’s life better than yours.
But know when to let your child struggle – with consequences, with pain, with decisions. It’s the struggle that prepares children for adult life. It’s not easy, but it’s absolutely necessary.
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. (Romans 5:3, 4 NLT)
If we are going to raise up a mighty generation of character and solid faith, they need to struggle and endure. Don’t shelter them so much that they can’t develop long term character. Parenting is bigger than easing life’s rough spots – it’s about making strong, enduring disciples of Christ.