Make Them Do Their Own Stuff

There is a great story about a young Spartan woman, Gorgo, who would one day become queen. Despite her royal status, like all Spartans she was raised to be self-sufficient, and without any frills or needless luxury. 

So imagine Gorgo’s surprise when she witnessed a distinguished visitor to Sparta have his shoes put on by a servant. “Look, father,” she said, “the stranger has no hands!”

Out of the mouths of babes…

But the truth is, for some of us, it could just as easily be deduced that our kids have no hands. And no brains. We put on their clothes for them. We make their decisions. We clear the road in front like a snowplow. We hover like a helicopter, just in case something goes wrong. We do everything for them. 

Then we wonder why they are helpless. We wonder why they have trouble with anxiety or low self-esteem. Confidence is something you earn. It comes from self-sufficiency. It comes from experience. When we coddle and baby them—when we take away their hands—we deprive them of these critical assets. 

That’s not right. It’s not fair.

P.S. This was originally sent on September 3, 2020. Sign up today for the Daily Dad’s email and get our popular 11 page eBook, “20 Things Great Dads Do Everyday.”

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