So what did I do? Since I knew my husband was unreachable, naturally, I called my parents. First I called my Dad, hoping that the extra key for my house was at his house, only three miles away. When he couldn't find it, I called my Mom, who was at work. She had the key!
Unfortunately, Mom said, I could bring it to you, but I'm not going to. You have to learn you can't forget your key. How will you learn if I just bring it to you?
I'm kidding, of course! She absolutely did not say that. Quite the opposite, in fact. She offered to leave her busy job right away, to come and rescue me and my children. And if she could not have left right away, she would have figured out another way to get my key to me.
This is why I cringed when I was sitting at a presentation about parenting and education earlier this week, and a so-called expert gave this advice (and the audience of parents spontaneously applauded):
If your child calls you from school saying he forgot his lunch or his gym shoes, JUST DON'T BRING IT TO HIM. He has to take control of his own life, and if you swoop in and rescue him, he will never be independent.I am really happy my parents never listened to this advice when I when I was younger. I am lucky I don't have to be afraid to call them when I need help because I did something silly like lock myself out of the house.
Children are humans, just like us adults. They make mistakes and forget things, just like we do. If someone in my life, including (especially) one of my children, makes a mistake, and I can help her recover from it, I jump at the chance.
If my child forgets something or otherwise makes a mistake, I will certainly not withhold help for the sake of teaching a lesson about independence. I don't want them to learn that they have to figure everything out by themselves.
Instead, the lessons I want my children to learn from these situations are about me...
- That I am understanding and trustworthy.
- That they can depend on me, and I will always do whatever I can to help them.
- That sometimes I need to depend on other people too, and that's all right.