Amongst my uni mates the only nickname I’ve had is man-with-map-in-head because I’ve got a good sense of location and direction.
In a time before GPS and Google Maps when we were exploring new towns and cities my mates would rely on me to navigate new places. It got to the point where if left them on their own they wouldn’t have a clue where they were or how to get home. They became dependent on me and gave up navigating for themselves.
A few years later I was playing with my youngest daughter. The toy was quite hard for her age, so I got tasked focused and began helping put the right pieces in the right place. I thought I was doing the helpful thing but after a couple of minutes she said “Daddy, stop helping me I want to learn”
Oops. I took that as feedback and stepped back a little to watch her experiment, make mistakes but ultimately work it out in the ways she wanted to and not the way I thought it should be. It would have been very easy for her to comply and use the help I was giving her, but she didn’t. I tried to give her too much help, but she resisted and didn’t give in.
Years ago, I set myself a goal of creating a new pithy statement. If you’re interested in the algorithm check out Tyson Yunkaporta. The title of the article is what I came up with – sometimes when you’re given too much you give in too much.
It was as much a justification for me not to make things too easy for my kids so they would grow the necessary independence muscle.
Sometimes when you’re given too much help you give in a little bit in working it out for yourself.
Sometimes when you’re given too much time you give in a little bit on the urgency.
Sometimes when you’re given too many answers you give in a little bit on asking better questions.
With 3 kids I’ve had plenty of opportunities to experiment. Many times, I’ve failed more than I’ve succeeded to balance the essence of the statement with them.
When I’ve made circumstances too easy for them, I’ve watched them give up. The hunger and appetite to learn peters out.
When I’ve made circumstances too hard for them, I’ve also watched them give up. The anxiety of failure creates an avoidance mindset.
Sometimes I got it right, sometimes I didn’t. Sometimes I made it too hard and they endured, sometimes they didn’t. Sometimes I made it too easy and they built on the situation and created something new, sometimes they didn’t.
Maybe the art is in the word ‘sometimes’.
This reminds me of the butterfly struggle story when the gift of struggle brings the necessary strength for transformation.
As you walk through life, keep in mind that struggling is an important part of any growth experience.
In fact, it is the struggle that causes you to develop your ability to fly.
“Come to the edge," he said.
"We can't, we're afraid!" they responded.
"Come to the edge," he said.
And so, they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew.
Are you willing to experiment with sometimes?
Where have you been given too much that you’ve lost your hunger for growth?
When have you given in because you’ve been given too much?
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