Bubble-wrap is to protect things that are fragile, to cushion them so they don’t become damaged if they get jostled or banged around.
Our kids are precious, but they’re not fragile. They’re not delicate.
When we bubble-wrap them and protect them from any injury, any distress, or any potential challenge, we actually make them more fragile. We communicate to them, “I don’t think you can handle this, and you need me to shelter you.” In so doing, we deny them the privilege of the practice of feeling and sitting in discomfort and finding their way out, and of seeing that they are strong and resourceful.
The more we bubble-wrap our kids, the more fragile they become.
Want your children to believe that you believe in them? Want them to be resourceful and resilient? Want them to be able to develop a sturdy, robust bandwidth for tolerating challenges, and then rise to meet them? Want them to know that they are not victim to their emotions and their circumstances?
Then let them feel. Let them wrestle with indecision, with discomfort, with discouragement and disappointment.
Our job is not to rescue them from hard things and uncomfortable feelings. Our job is to walk with them through their difficult moments with connection and empathy, allowing them to feel, allowing them to be active participants in problem-solving, and allowing them to discover the depth of their own capacity.
It’s out of our deep love for our children that we want to protect them, but their capacity will be greater, their spirit larger, if we allow that love to lead us to our own courage, so that we can feel strong enough to let them discover their own strength.