I had a fascinating meeting with a lady at the end of last week. Her son is a friend of my son’s and we found ourselves chatting in our kitchen and it was one of those moments that I realised I needed to shut up and simply listen! This lady clearly knew her stuff and works in the front line of education, often with very difficult young people at a sixth form college. She stressed that the pupils under her watch that make no form of progress are often the ones whose parents constantly step in and make excuses for them. The line that I will never forget was, “they must learn to take ownership of their own journeys.” As a father of four children I know how easy it is to make excuses and ones protective love wants to shelter our children from difficult and challenging realities. However we mustn’t always do this!
I think this is a really salutary lesson for us all, recognising that the journey through adolescence is not a straight forward one and if ever there’s a time to make mistakes and learn from them it is then. Our protective love must not be responsible for over protecting and thereby stultifying our children’s growth and progress.