When I think of kids with overprotective moms, I immediately imagine a 12-year-old in a car seat, a child wearing SPF 80 sunscreen on a cloudy day and an 18-year-old who isn't allowed to drive. (Sorry if I stepped on any toes.) I never considered myself overprotective, until recently.
My oldest son plays competitive soccer, and his team recently got a new coach and a few new players. The additional players meant that someone had to be moved down to another team. My son was the chosen one. I wanted to (politely and professionally, of course) explain why another kid should have been demoted — instead of my boy.
Fortunately, I took time to pray and reflect before reacting. Although my son was disappointed, he responded by working hard in hopes of being reinstated on the higher-level team. Through this seventh-grade trauma, my son is learning character, patience and respect for others. The very pain from which I would have protected him has become a priceless refining moment in my son's young adolescence.
As mothers, we never want to see our children experience the pain of failure, rejection or limitations — but in trying to shelter them from adversity, we sometimes overprotect them. By safeguarding them from pain, we also shield them from potential growth.
A child can be crushed by too much adversity, however. So how do we protect our children in a healthy way? Deuteronomy 6 instructs parents to teach their children about God when they sit at home and when they walk along the road, when they lie down and when they get up. This implies that amid the challenges of life, parents are to present the Truth to their children.
The desire of an overprotective mom is to shield her kids from pain. However, God calls us to journey with our children, encouraging and instructing as they encounter trials and temptations. In sorrow our children can experience the comfort of God; in failure they can learn to try harder; in disappointment they can exercise the priceless faith that we most desire for them.