My brother Scot and I are often polar opposites when it comes to our views. For years now we have had hearty debates about almost every political, religious, and philosophical issue there is…he is impossible! But also so very rational, and the master in debating–he is always trying to get me to take the emotion out of my argument (still working on that…) You must remember that this is my big brother…23 years older kind of big. I can’t get over that he used to DESTROY ME in Monopoly–I was under 10 and he was over 30 and there he went putting hotels on Boardwalk and I didn’t even have a house on Mediterranean!! Through all our debates I think I was trying to finally win. It always seemed to me we never had much in common, as he truly is in a parental generation compared to me. Perhaps this is changing now that I am a parent too? Or maybe I am less interested in finding our differences and trying to convince him to come to my side, instead I would rather find a common thread with my only brother.
I recently sent him an email with an interesting little video about changing the paradigms of education in the US. Scot and his wife Phenny homeschool their two kids so I thought he would be interested and give some good perspective. Of course he did! I was homeschooled, and I dream of homeschooling my own kids so I am interested in his POV. Anyways, this post isn’t about changing education paradigms, but somehow our email chain led to a discussion about the concept of “Too Much Love”. He sent me an interesting meditation about being firm with your children and allowing them to struggle on their own at times, here is the final message of the meditation:
“Do you ever find yourself trying to help your children more than you should? Your children’s education can suffer if you don’t learn to balance the dual role you play as teacher and parent. Spelling out every answer will be detrimental to the development of their reasoning and thinking processes. Be careful. Don’t destroy the new life God is using you to shape. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
I responded with an example of how Brad and I were exploring this concept with Elsie as she learns to roll over. She is readily able to roll from back to belly, but gets “stuck” on her belly. Should we not help her turn over? Below is Scot’s response. Look how he takes the concept of an infant milestone and expands it into a much wider concept. HOW DOES HE DO THAT?! He is still totally my know-it-all-big-brother. But this time I appreciate it.
There is a creative tension between the instinct to help and the instinct to withdraw. If you honor that tension, you can trust your instincts.
These four principles apply to any training exercise (physiological, mental, emotional, relational, spiritual):
2.Withdraw assistance gradually and strategically.
3. Integrate mastery exercises with teaching exercises.