A couple of weeks ago my boy woke me up with loud noises coming from the kitchen. Wanting to make sure that he was okay I rushed from the bedroom to discover that he had dragged a dining room chair to the kitchen counter. He had grabbed the box of pancake mix from the cupboard (one of the loud noises), pulled the carton of eggs out of the refrigerator, reached into a different cupboard to pull down a mixing bowl (another loud noise), and was using a ¼ cup measuring cup to scoop up the powder.
He had decided to make pancakes.
The only ingredient he was missing was the milk. But I don’t think he was finished retrieving all of his ingredients. He even told me that he needed “two cups of powder”, which was exactly what the recipe called for.
I was impressed.
I love it when my kids start doing things on their own. It means that I have one less thing I need to do for him. It means that he is one step closer to being able to function independently as a member of our society. It means he has the confidence to live life outside of my watchful eye. Because, as his parent, it is my job to teach him how to live in this world.
I remember the joy my parents felt when I started driving. They no longer had to drive me places, and they were able to take advantage of having an extra driver in the house to help them run errands. Independent acting children are able to make a contribution to the family, and beyond that to their community.
When I was coaching high school distance runners, our most successful seasons came when the student athletes had a leadership role in preparing our workouts.
In my ministry to young people, I have seen their spiritual growth explode when they were able to do the work of the ministry themselves.
If you have children, what are you doing to give them permission to act independently? Is your home a safe place for your children to fail so that they can learn what it takes to succeed?
If you work with children, are you giving them opportunities to do big things? Are you giving them a safe place to fail so they can learn what it takes to succeed?