Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice? Proverbs 8:1
As a teacher, helicopter parents made me feel like they had abolutely zero trust in my abilities to educate their children. In all honesty, it hurt. I, like so many other teachers, had such a passion for teaching and helping the children in my care. I took incredible offense to the unbelievably blatent disrespect some parents displayed all in an effort “to protect their children.” So much so that I had to begin to ask why? Why would a parent go to such an extreme? What drives them to be so protective? I needed wisdom to call out her voice, LOUDLY, just as the scripture above states.
In my quest for understanding, I discovered an article by Susan Gregory Thomas from Edutopia that was extremely insightful. While it is not the end-all be-all answer, it definitely shed light on the generation that is known for “helicopter parents,” which I must remind myself, is MY generation…Generation X. (You can read the full article here). The following excerpt is what helped me the most:
“…Generation X, according to a 2004 study conducted by marketing-strategy and research firm Reach Advisors, “went through its all-important formative years as one of the least parented, least nurtured generations in U.S. history.” Little wonder: Half of all Gen Xers’ parents are divorced. We were the first to be raised in record numbers in day care, and some 40 percent of us were latchkey kids.
We’ve been taking care of ourselves since we started going to school, and we don’t trust authority figures, because they weren’t trustworthy when we were growing up. Our parents didn’t know what was going on at school, and our teachers didn’t know what was going on at home. We’re not going to let this happen to our children — not even for a second. We’ll do whatever we have to do to make sure our kids get what they need.”
This article brought me to the heart of the matter. It helped me put aside my offended feelings as an educator and opened my eyes as a parent. You see, helicopter parents are really no different from you or me. We are all trying to raise our children the best we know how. Logically, we do this by either embracing or rejecting what we experienced growing up. We look to ourselves and our life experiences to inform what we teach our own children. I would be remiss if I didn’t say that I recognize my own helicopter-like tendencies when it comes to certain areas of my children’s lives.
The key word here, though, is that we look to ourselves…What if we were to look past ourselves? What if we were to lay our childhood hurts at the foot of the cross, leave them there, and then truly look to God’s Word to inform us and our children? Betty Staley, a Waldorf educator states, “Generation X is looking to teachers and schools to heal childhood wounds.” (Edutopia) If this is truly the case, then I would like to sincerely propose that there is a better way. Jeremiah 30:17 says, “‘But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’ declares the LORD…” Now that is wisdom worth holding on to and passing down to our children.