Monday, July 16, 2012

An Unashamed "Helicopter Parent" - A Rationalization


Song:  Everlasting Road

Artist:  Kitaro


Yesterday we had dropped off Alex at his Math Camp at Northern Lake Tahoe.

It is 5 days long...
and this is his first time away from home.

As Alex is finicky when it comes to food
(although it is good in his case...he likes healthful foods)...
we were fearful that some of the normal food in America would be
too intense for his taste (he doesn't like spaghetti or hamburgers etc.).
He usually eats a Japanese / Mediterranean diet...
he loves fish, poultry, vegetables, fruits and nuts, yogurt...etc.

He usually doesn't eat many red meats, saucy or spicy dishes...etc.

Well, initially, we were thinking of stocking up the refrigerator at the camp with
some of his favorite foods...
but then reconsidered, thinking this would be a good opportunity for him
to have to try some different foods...ones he normally doesn't eat...
just for the experience.

I was thinking that when he gets hungry enough...
he will eat something that, although, doesn't necessarily agree with his palate...
will fill his belly.

Later that night after we got home...
we re-evaluated our position...
and decided to drive back up to his camp the next day
 to deliver some of his favorite foods.

I realized that the lesser lesson of learning to adapt to his surroundings
(which may be done at home)
would have hampered our overriding concern that his first experience away 
from home should be one of magic...one where he has full enjoyment of his 
surroundings and where he will have very fond memories of his time there.

This will, of course, lead to an association of comfort to that of the outside world.

So, earlier this evening, we went shopping for some of Alex's favorite foods...
drove back to his camp...and delivered his roast chickens, favorite cheeses...
some frozen fish...etc.

He, of course, was happy to see us...
but we could also see he was happy to be there with the other children.

He was very happy to learn of our delivery of food for him...
as he had, in fact, not eaten the prior night's dinner (spaghetti)
(which was not the teacher's fault...it was our's).

Alex is the type to suffer in silence.

While it is a valued manly trait...
when my 11 year old son does so...
it is the result of my failing to plan properly.

He doesn't have the power to effect change...as do I.

With our delivery made...
and the vision of our son's beaming face fresh in our minds...
we gave him a big hug and a kiss...
and we departed.


My wife and I stopped by the lake side to enjoy the fading light
before we drove back home.









Now...
to have robbed Alex of valid lessons in life
for no other purpose than to ease our minds...
would have been wrong.

However, to have sacrificed a time reserved for magical memories
to teach him something which had no immediate and/or irredeemable 
value...would to have sacrificed the large picture for the small.

He will always know that while we will allow him the freedom
to spread his wings to fly...to be able to make his own decisions in the future...
we will always be there for him.

We will always be his safety net in time of true need.

He will know that, no matter how old he gets...
we will never desert him to suffer any negative repercussions alone
(I am, of course, not talking of not allowing him to experience a 
true growing experience).

When he suffers...
we suffer.

Should he falter later in life...
it will be because of our failure to have truly taught him correctly.

We shall be there to shelter him while he recuperates...
we shall be there to help guide him to a correct path...
we shall be there until he grows new flight feathers...
and we shall be there to send him back into the world
with a new, and stronger, set of wings.

No matter what...
we shall be there for him.

This is not only a sacred duty of a parent...
this is the true meaning of love between parent and child.

Alex shall always know that the road of love
between parent and child...
is one that never closes...
a road which is sacred, and everlasting.

We departed Lake Tahoe with the firm knowledge that our 
subsequent decision was the correct one.

Alex shall know that our "helicopter" is always on stand-by.
It shall always be ready to take us to him in time of need.

If this makes us "Helicopter Parents"...
we wear the name proudly.

Our helicopter is not for us to hamper his journey into adulthood...
it is not made to incessantly "hover".

Our helicopter...
is a Scout Helicopter...
to constantly find better opportunities...
more efficient and effective routes for Alex to follow...
so he may reach his goals...
and to mark the many pitfalls in life...
so he may avoid delays and danger.

Our helicopter...
is a Troop Carrier...
to carry him to greater heights
and with greater speed...
so he will not have to walk the convoluted road 
of slow or hampered growth.

Our helicopter...
is a Medivac.
In times of need...
we shall fly him to safety...
so he may heal...
to fully recover and grow stronger...
ready to fight once again.

Our helicopter...
is an Attack Helicopter...
to fend off those of evil intent...
and their frequently stacked odds and numbers.

My wife, and I, are qualified, and experienced pilots.
We shall be ever ready to fly any mission...
whenever...
wherever.

I suspect that most parents are, in fact, "Helicopter Parents"...
and proudly so.

May that never change.




4 comments:

  1. I sometimes struggle with similar issues. It is not always easy to decide how much of a safety net to provide and when it is okay to let your child struggle on his own. You know your son the best, and the fact that you both put so much thought into the decision, and reevaluated it even more, indicates that you made a good choice.

    Great to know that he seems to be off to a good start there!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, he seemed to be happy to be there. We are waiting for a call from him later tonight...although the cell signal is broken since it is in the mountains. We are excited to hear about some of the things they have been doing there.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I loved this post...it might be my favorite! This is a difficult balancing act for parents! I don't believe you were a helicopter parent! A true helicopter parent would not have allowed such an experience. Perhaps they would have taken a room in town, which even that is understandable!

    What you did was do the best you could to support your son's likelihood at success. Ignoring the food issues could have sabotaged him.

    Also, it gave you an opportunity to take in those amazing views!

    Looking forward to hearing all about math camp! :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you. We will actually be picking him up tomorrow night. We are going to spend the evening at the lake before returning. I am excited to hear of Alex's adventures. We plan to eat at a Sushi place near the shore...and I will have Alex tell me all about each day there.

    What you said about the supporting of my son's success was absolutely correct. That is the overriding concern...not how we as parents feel...but the final result for the child. If it is good...do. If it is not good...don't do.

    Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete

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