Parents need to keep their kids safe from harm. This starts from the moment the child is born and continues until the child is an adult. There are carseats and vaccines and vegetables and swim lessons and... and... and... Children begin life as these beautiful, helpless little Beings who need us; so we Show Up the best way we can.
We manipulate the environment to keep our kids safe. We choose the schools, the playdates and the sports teams. We can change how our family operates; we eat family dinner, go to bed early or really commit to yelling less and listening more.
These herculean efforts to control a child's environment and experience may, hopefully, prevent some physical harm. There will hopefully be less illness and fewer broken bones. We try.
And still, no parent can wholly prevent a child from being emotionally harmed. We cannot protect them from the hurt. This is particularly true if we, as the parents, are unintentionally doing the hurting.
I meet a lot of parents who are deeply saddened because their child was hurt. Parents who are deeply fearful that their child may get more hurt. Some of them want me to tell them how, or find a way, to keep their child from getting hurt again.
These parents want to know who is to blame... what consequences to issue... what friends to cut out... what school to go to... what words to say. They think that I can tell them how to better control The World, so their beautiful, helpless little Being will be safe.
I can't do that. They can't either. Nor can their child.
What I CAN do... what they CAN do... is to give the beautiful little Being a boatload of tools and skills that will enable them to rise... like a Phoenix from the ashes of the hurt. Tools and skills that allow them to understand the pain and learn from it. Tools and skills they can use to shape their hurt into the wisdom that is the root of growth. Skills and tools that transform the beautiful little Being from Helpless to Powerful.
We can give our children the Legacy of Resilience. This gift is far more powerful than protection.