Letting my kid make his own mistakes…..The Minnesota Cuke Umbrella Dilemma

Mothering dilemma:  Should I rescue my child from potential social issues, or let him learn the hard way?

Answer:  It depends.

Today?  I didn’t. And we’ll see how that goes…so far?  It doesn’t feel so great for mom.

“I know it’s raining.  I know we don’t have a different umbrella. Still. I don’t recommend carrying that umbrella, to school. Besides- I’m driving you to the bus, you won’t even need it.” I said, squinting to shield my eyes from the brilliance of the glowing, neon-green, preschool cartoon character umbrella in his hand.

I was pretty sure, that this umbrella in particular, would draw a kind of attention he does NOT want. Attention of the teasing type. Not because of its neon green.  But because it’s a Veggie-tales, “Minnesota Cuke and the Search for Noah’s Ark,” umbrella.  Fine if he was a kindergartener, maybe not so fine in second grade.

“I want too! I love this umbrella! It has my NAME on it!” Was his reply.

“I just think that the other kids might make fun of it…. that’s all I’m saying.”

Even as I said it…I knew I was treading dangerous water … I know he still likes veggie tales… and doesn’t care if other kids do or not. But something in my momma gut told me this was different from watching it.  This is the second grade equivalent of taking out a full page ad in the New York Times to announce his love.

Don’t get me wrong… he likes this show, and I’m glad he does.  I hate the whole “rush to grow up” pressure that young kids face… and I’m glad he doesn’t let other kids dictate his preferences..But, I don’t like to see my kid get teased.

From the set of his jaw, I could tell I was fighting a losing battle.  He disagreed with me. (I love that about my kids- they are not afraid to be who they are;)

Honestly?  I don’t know what will happen. He may spend the day being teased for carrying the baby-show-umbrella. He may be the object of secret (“I wish I could admit I love veggie tales too, but I’m afraid kids would make fun of me”) envy. He may be a trend setter, and  start a second grade Veggie Tales fan club. Or maybe not.  Maybe he will learn a painful lesson. Maybe he’ll feel good that he is who he is, likes what he likes and doesn’t care if others tease him about it.

The thing is, I know I can’t always shield him from potential pain.  If I did.. he’d never learn the lessons that [we all need to learn] from it. Pain is not the enemy. (line stolen from a friend/counselor) Pain is there to teach us what hurts.

As I looked past the green glow and into his eyes this morning, I knew this was one of those days. I can’t shield him. I did what I could.  I walked him through the decision making process.  I pointed out the potential outcomes and allowed him to decide on his own.

I watched him stand at the bus stop amid black, pink and brown umbrellas. I watched him smile under the happy glow of his own. But still, I wonder if I did the right thing.  I wonder if he’s ok.

It’s not comfortable. It’s not easy. To be honest?  I’m not sure I did the right thing. (Although, I suspect I did)

But I do know this:

Sometimes the best thing a mom can do, is to be there to help a kid make their own decisions and face their consequences…sometimes it’s better to be prepared to heal pain with love- than to try and rescue our kids from it.

Today, it’s a Minnesota Cuke Umbrella Dilemma.. tomorrow? It will be choosing colleges, jobs and other life choices… life is all about choices and consequences… my job is to teach him how to make them.. not to make them for him; )

(A lesson I’ve had to learn the hard way, of course!)

What decisions have you helped walk your child through, recently?

What happened?

What did you both learn?

Would you do the same?

How do you prepare your child for decision making?

How do you feel when you now you’re child may face potential pain?

Are you prone to rescue or shield, or trust the process of learning?

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