Give Them Wings Not Strings - Part 2

11/30/2013 12:51:11 AM

There are two lasting bequests we can give our children.

One is roots. The other is wings.

~Hodding Carter, Jr.


At a recent educator conference, a college professor lamenting the lack of real world readiness among many students confided that teens aren’t the only ones unprepared—often it’s their parents, too. She pulled out her tablet and opened an email from a student who was failing in math and science. In it was this heartbreaking sentence … “I really want to be studying fashion design, but my parents won’t let me major in that.” This student had the gifts, creative temperament, and passion for design, but her parents were footing her college bill and had their own expectations and agenda.
Were they giving her wings? Or strings?
Ultimately, raising young adults and releasing them prepared for the real world is not supposed to be about us (i.e., parents) and our identity, interests, or agenda. It’s about doing what’s best for our kids—giving them wings, not strings. Here’s what strings and wings can look like as we relate to our teens:


Take a few moments for a self-check. Considering where you are in your parenting process, how would you answer the following questions?
By the time children reach the teen years and parents need to start letting go, the indications should suggest we’re raising—and releasing—mature, trustworthy, well-adjusted, and motivated young adults who are ready to tackle the world. If they’re otherwise, some of your parenting methods might be playing a role. It’s never too late or too early to for some mid-course corrections where needed.

Can you think of other examples of wing versus strings? If you are an educator, how do you see this impacting the students in your classrooms and how have you dealt with it?