Updated: Jan 23, 2019
Fishing is such a great analogy for life. You go to the water, cast your line, and hope to catch. Sometimes you do, sometimes your get more than expected and other times you end up empty handed. And regardless of your bounty; you get up the next day and do it again. Each time hoping to catch and feel the joys of your labor. From this experience you learn things like patience, perseverance and faith.
Now let's imagine you are fishing with your family and your child is casting their line into the water. At no time do you dive in the water and guide their line to a fish. Or you don't catch a fish yourself and then hook it on your child's line. And you definitely don't go overboard (literally and figuratively), praising them about how great they are at fishing, if they have not caught anything. All of this would be ridiculous and defeat the purpose of teaching them to fish, as they need to learn for themselves. Of course you don't do any of these things, but what you do instead is coach, lead by example, and have conversations with your child.
Can we apply those same lessons to raising our children; not just when fishing, but in all areas of life?
We need to step aside and let our children "fish", especially in school. Because school is where our kids get the many lessons that set them up for life; socially, academically and most importantly internally; through their self dialogue.
If we, as parents, keep coming to their rescue when they are not in danger; it sends a signal to your child that they are not good enough, smart enough or equipped enough to handle their own issues. It also teaches them if they complain, they can get their way.
Let your child get a failing grade on a quiz or be in a class with a teacher they do not like. Let them do their projects, without you finishing it, so it "looks good". Allow them to be uncomfortable. Not because you want them to feel that way, but because it is in that space of being uncomfortable, that they come up with solutions. This teaches them they can navigate through this thing we call life.
Just like with fishing, we can coach, lead by example, and have conversations in order to teach them to think and act for themselves. This creates confidence, life skills, and self-esteem. By allowing your child to take the lead in their own life, with them knowing we are right there with love and support, you will have helped your child hold a belief system that carries them into the world.
Your child will thank you for it; by forging forward in life as an independent thinker and problem solver, along with all their other unique and beautiful qualities that make them who they are. How inspiring...
Lucie Dickenson is an inspirational coach, wife, and mom to three unique and wonderful teenagers. Through her coaching and in her personal life, she loves to inspire others, finding what makes their heart sing, so they can live their truth every day.