Worry Doesn’t Equal Love

“Worry weighs a person down…”
Proverbs 12:25

 

If worrying about your children means you love them more, then I guess I don’t love my children very much.

There’s a silent competition in the mothering circle today called, “Who Loves Their Child More?” and the way to win is by worrying. I try not to worry about my kids as much as possible so I guess I am not in the running for winning the competition.

The more you worry about your child, the more you protect them. And more protection is always better, right?

Don’t allow your child to attend a drop off birthday party because they may hurt themselves in the supervised bouncy house. And if you’re not there every time they get hurt you are not being a good mother. Letting your kids ride the rides at the carnival, play on the playground by themselves, play with toy swords, spend the night at a friends house, sleep on the top bunk, or suck on a pacifier that dropped on the floor {heaven forbid!}, are all really bad ideas, right? Because if you allow your kids to experience these things they may, at some point, find themselves in some danger and a mother should be constantly worrying and making sure her kids are out of harms way. At least that’s what society teaches us.

You’d be surprised at how many parents really seem to believe there’s a correlation between how much you worry about your children and how much you love them.

 

I agree that there are many terrible possibilities that can happen to a child. And of course, as mothers, we don’t want to see harm come to our children. We {should}, as parents, protect our children from some things. If I take my kids to the Grand Canyon, you’d better believe I’m going to hold them back from the edge. That is NOT a situation where I would let them learn about heights by experience! If I know that one of Isaiah’s friends has a contagious, serous illness, then I’m not going to allow him to go over and play. Since Eloise has a dairy intolerance I’m not going to let her have a bowl of regular ice cream no matter how much she whines. I know the consequences that will come from it and she’ll be more miserable than she feels now being denied it! We need to guide and direct and train our children. We are older and wiser and can understand things more clearly than their little minds can. But we can’t control every situation our kids find themselves in. So why waste your time worrying about the situations you can’t control and let your worry cause your kids to miss out on fun learning experiences that help them grow as individuals or just plain have {fun}?

Isaiah loves an adrenaline rush. Anything that is especially dangerous is especially appealing in his eyes! He loves to build up tall stacks of pillows and jump off of them onto any surface, hard  or soft. He loves to climb up on anything and everything and see how high he can get. He loves the rides at the carnival – the faster the better! As a result he’s a boy who, you guessed it, gets lots of boo boos. But he’s also a smart kid because he’s learned so much from what he attempts to do. We don’t allow activities that are extremely dangerous to his well being but we also try not to limit his freedom to explore the world in a healthy way that teaches him to respect safety as he learns about the consequences of his actions on his own.

I’m not going to forbid my kids from going to school or daycare, a birthday party, a sleep over, or the carnival for fear of what they may experience there. I’m not going to forbid them from exploring the world around them because they may get a skinned up knee or a cut on their forehead.

When both of my kids were little I allowed them to briefly touch hot objects. Why? So that they could learn to respect the word “hot”. When Isaiah was about a year he kept wanting to grab my curling iron while I was doing my hair. After a few weeks of telling him it was hot and not to touch it but him still trying to grab for it, I had an idea. One day I allowed him to briefly touch it while I repeated the word “hot.” He got a little blister on his finger. He cried. But you know what? He learned to respect hot things and he never grabbed for my curling iron again. I’d rather him have a little blister on his finger than one day grab the iron with his entire hand while I wasn’t looking. Both of my kids learned in this way that hot things hurt. It was better for them to learn by experience than for me to just tell them.

As parents, we care about our kids, we love them, and we want the best for them. And, if you’re like me, you want to teach and grow and mold them into godly young men and women who are confident in themselves and who contribute positively to society. This is hard to do if you’re a “helicopter parent” and never allow your kids to experience the world without your protective hand.

I refuse to torture myself with what-ifs. And I won’t fill my children with unecessary fear about life. Of course both Drew and I do our best to keep our children safe and healthy, but we also want them to lead normal lives and discover a few “hard lessons” on their own.

As a Christian, I have even less reason to worry. In fact, God tells me {not} to worry.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life … Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matt 6:25-2

Parenting should never be a competition. Most of us love our children as much as is humanly possible. We may worry about them in differing degrees but that doesn’t make anyone a better or worse parent.There is a time to worry about our kids but lets not let our worry lead to control of every aspect of their lives. Do your best as a mother, take a deep breath, and trust God with the rest! He loves our kids even more than we do!

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