This evening, a talk with a parent left a seed for thought for fellow parents. Having a High School Senior, we find ourselves seeking wisdom, advice and encouragement from those who have gone before us. Today, the word given was, “This year, I stopped driving, and started guiding!”
As the conversation continued, the image of a mighty sail boat appeared. One can imagine our children on an ocean, sailing into their future. Now captains of their ships, standing at the helm, navigating their future. As parents, we have worked to train them on how to navigate life, and prepared, repaired, built, and structured them as sea worthy vessels, placed in them a sense of purpose and helped them discover their identities, only to face an approaching release into life’s treacherous waters.
What a challenge before us? The parent spoke words to live by. At some point, we must believe that the training given to them will be enough to aid them in navigating the waters. We must believe this in confidence, knowing that the complete training of a person takes an entire life time, and that many of the lessons that will continue to mold and shape will take place after we release them to sail. What was being said in the statement, was that the release was not one that turned their child into the raging sea, but one that understood the role of the parent shifting from the “Wheel” to the “Breeze”.
The difference between the “Wheel” and “Breeze” are key to proper navigation. Many parents will spend the bulk of Supervision Years (college), Managing as Hands On (Grade School), fighting over the wheel that will inevitably be surrendered. It is this fight that strains relationships, often resulting in outright rebellion. Realistically, the job of the parent is never done, but the methods and modes used to teach are different. And while our job is never done, our jobs are not to maintain the wheel, but to release the wheel with our wisdom, counsel and advice. Our purpose now becomes to keep them from sinking or running ashore, not choosing their dock. We do this, knowing that there is still growing to do, but must do so in order to aid them in becoming effective sailors.
The teachings we render and direction we give from this point will be less hands on, but more vocal driven. We must trust our “breeze!” Our “breeze” is relative to the love, trust, respect and influence our children have for us. It is this “breeze” that will remain steady and aid our children in navigating the waters of life, allowing them to find more security in whom they were created to be, and to adjust their sails to the wind in route to their identified harbor. We must trust that the wind; though missed at times because they have folded up the sails, must continue. Its steady stream reminds them that they are not subject to the shifting of the current to take them, but that they can still access power to navigate life when they are ready to move forward.
We thought it necessary to also distinguish that a Gentle Breeze and Harsh Wind are very different. A Harsh Wind is more powerful, but can make life difficult to navigate; especially with shifting currents and impending waves. It can cause the sailor navigate improperly, panic and in some cases, topple a sea worthy vessel from lack of experience or frustration. As they are learning to navigate the waves and currents, fighting through Harsh Winds can cause them to loose sight or question the compass, depositing them into uncharted territory. As parents this is challenging, especially if they seem to be off course or make a navigation error. It is our love and passion for them that often causes us to run aboard and assume the controls, but we must resist! As said, training is on going, and while being in control seems fun or best, it will become a chore once you are unable to do so. They have to learn how to navigate life on their own!
Thus, don’t be a harsh wind! A Gentle Breeze will provide enough power to navigate challenging waters, giving out children the guidance they need to become productive and successful. Keep Blowing Parents!