When Helping Hinders

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow.  But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 ESV

Helping Hinders

Today a dear friend shared with me how when her son was young, while at a ball game sitting on bleachers, she saw her son move out of the side of her eye. She thought he was about to fall off the bleachers. In an instinct reaction, as she turned to try to save him, she accidentally knocked him causing him to fall. Ugh!

I hate it when I’m trying to help my children, but instead of helping, I actually make it worse or hinder them from growing.

Lately that’s been happening a lot with my son. At seventeen he is eager to jump out and take responsibility, but in my eagerness to help him, I’m getting in the way causing strife within Thorntonville walls.

Why do I want to step in? Is it because I want everything to be perfect?  No, it isn’t that. Honestly, I just want to help him keep his head afloat and not miss out on any opportunities.

Therein lies the problem. Sometimes in life we have to say no to some activities to make room for what is best. My best and his best have been colliding lately.

So how, as a mom, am I supposed to handle it?  Never help, never advise?  No that’s not the answer either.

Today I sat and talked with three wise women in the life step right ahead of mine.  Here is what I learned.

  1. Listen first. Listen to really hear my son’s heart and what he is truly thinking.
  2. Pray lots. Keep that teen growing into adulthood covered in prayer asking for wisdom. Each situation may have a different answer. Prayer provides the best result regardless of what either of our “bests” may be.
  3. Encourage much. Even when it is hard, find something nice to say. Growing up is hard and building up is important.
  4. Let them fail. This one was so hard for me to hear, but so important. In life we learn so much from our failures. If they fail now, at least it will be within the walls of a loving home who recognizes teens as more than one bad decision.
  5. Breathe.  Its ok for me to breathe in life – even as I’m struggling. In fact, it’s imperative as a mom that I do. Breathing requires me to slow down a bit, take it all in and move forward.

As I drove down to my church this morning, I prayed asking God for direction on how to handle the rift between my son and me. A rift I started. God knew what I needed. He listened to my prayer, He allowed me to fail the night before and He taught me to breathe and move on by placing three wise ladies in my path. (You know God was getting my attention by sending three instead of just one.) At the end of Bible study this morning, I sat with tears rolling off my face as one momma poured encouragement into me. Right before her another momma had just shared with me, too. And then as I headed into work another wise woman did the same thing. God is so good. He’s the best parent ever!

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