Thursday, October 18, 2012

I am not a helicopter

When it comes to most things, you will find that I'm not a helicopter personality. I don't hover and fuss and watch every little thing looking for potential disaster. Some adventures are far more fun if you glance at the map and then enjoy the road you're on.  In fact, the idea that anyone should spend their time anxiously hovering and double checking baffles me.

Helicopter parenting (you know hovering constantly over the little people for fear that something will not be perfect) is not in my nature.  This doesn't mean I don't love them; it means I understand that they need space to explore, to make mistakes and to be confused. Gavin is now able to completely ready himself for school without help. Aiden is still working towards that goal, but each day, they get a little closer to independent. My kids can tell you that I walk them to school, kiss them good bye and then practically run back to the car (some days, I'm even tempted to rev the engine and peal out of the neighbor as though a devil was on my tail, of course I don't do this because I am a respectful and responsible adult- mores the pity). I don't stand over them and remind them of things they should and shouldn't do. I might remind Aiden to take something out of his backpack, or tell Gavin to go talk to his teacher about something, but I don't wait around for them to do it.  I want my children to become self sufficient, sooner rather than later. I see it has a vitally important life skill.

My garden is treated similarly   I don't weed very often (weeds are just native plants where I don't want them); I forget to water things once in a while, and you know what, my garden is far healthier when I've left it alone than when I hover.  I even get pleasant surprises by ignoring the pots- this year, I got snap dragons that sprung from the seeds left by last year's flowers. I have a mystery plant, that while thriving, has given me few clues as to its identity.  By not spending too much time fussing over the plants, I also don't freak out about slug damage, powdery mildew or a temporary wilt.  The animals make themselves at home there, and that little plot of land welcomes them.  When the kids move the soil around or a crow steals my tomatoes, I see these things as the price that is demanded for the health of all involved.

By letting things go, a little bit, I am letting them do what comes naturally.  Yes, this means that sometimes, I have to course correct (like trimming back the blackberries that are trying to creep into other pots at the same time they are climb over the fence, or when the kids don't remember to turn in their school work), but it also means I'm not wasting energy trying to mold by plants or children into something they aren't. There is a line between self sufficient and neglected. I, personally don't think it's a thin one, and I want my garden to get to a point where it is largely self sustaining, and I owe it to myself, my children and the world, to teach my kids how to be self reliant. It's also good for all of us to recognize the difference between caring and smothering, between personal responsibility and obsession.

The Samhain spell kit giveaway is still going on until Monday.  

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