Wednesday, 30 April 2014

"Frozen” Parenting - Snow is soft but ice can hurt - Part 1

Frozen the movie has been a BIG hit for kids and families this year, and rightly so, it has everything, humour, adventure, romance and friendship, fantastic music, all set within a wonderful winter setting. But the deeper themes are so powerful for parents in particular, let us NOT let it go....without seeing it as a powerful reminder of the journey of life and the role we play as parents to either empower  or “overprotect” our children from becoming all they can be.

 The older sister has a gift, a talent. She can make soft snow which creates beauty and fun, for her and her sister Anna to enjoy. But, like any talent or gift it can be our greatest strength or our most powerful weakness. When, she accidently hurts her sister, the parent’s choose to lock her up in order to protect both the girls. To protect them was ONE choice but not the only choice.

 There is a strong need in us all as parents to protect.  It is a beautiful thing to want to protect our innocent children, to make sure they don’t have to go through any pain and in Elsa’s case, protecting others from being hurt as well. But, Instead of helping Elsa to learn to control her feelings and her powers, the parents choose to “Cotton Wool” her. By doing this, she is cut off from the world and those that could grow to love her, but are never given the chance. This disempowerment begins a long line of incidents and problems, and naturally the situation goes from bad to worse.

As parents, we don’t want them out of our sight. As educators, we’re concerned about liability and feel we need to avoid risk. We believe we are protecting our future by protecting them. In reality, we may be harming the future” [1]

One of the most challenging issues our children and teenagers face today is they are not prepared for LIFE.  So many are not prepared for stepping out and facing the world in such a way that they can contribute and see the challenges as something to learn from. Many are afraid to FAIL and yet falling down is one of the best ways to learn. Many are still at home long into their 20’s and do not know what they want to do with their lives. It is a growing problem in western society.

Today as a parent, it is much harder to protect as Elsa’s parents did, locking the doors and closing the windows is not that easy anymore. The internet comes right into our so called “Safe places”. Again our response should not be to protect or shut it all out, it doesn’t prepare them.  Princess Anna is a great example, she is shut in so much that the first man that smiled at her, she was willing to marry. She was not a good judge of character and she was not prepared for by anyone to deal with love and so much more.

There are many aspects of Technology that we all must be aware of, but we must empower rather than always protect.  In the SMH, there was an article called “Msg to MUM: don’t panic” Professor Boyd says “Statistically, facebook is less dangerous than the mall, which is less dangerous than the home. What most parents fail to realize is that the young people who are at risk in the mall and on facebook and those who are also at risk at home. These are youth that are surrounded by abuse, addiction, and mental health struggles. They look for attention in all the wrong places.”(SMH, April 5-6, 2014, pg32)

I understand this desire to protect, I don’t want my kids to get hurt or hurt anyone else. I have always felt if you provide a stable, safe and strong environment that my children will learn to fly and be all they can be. But this doesn’t happen without a few falls, without a few challenges and without a few bumps along the way. I have learned the hard way to STOP saving my children in the little things, in hope it prepares them for the BIG things that will come their way.

They have gifts and talents that need to be harnessed and developed. The home is the place where they spend most of their time when they are young. It needs to be a place where they can come to know who they are, and why they are here on this earth and what can they contribute to this short life. I believe we are called to “live life to the full” (John 10:10), as parents, in God’s strength and guidance what are you doing to help your children to become all they can be?   Are you protecting or empowering them?

They can’t spend their whole lives playing in the snow, one day it will become ICE and the question will be “Are they ready?”

[1] Tim Elmore, iY Generation, pg 22