Watching the Kids Fall
It’s really hard to watch them go under. But protecting our kids from virtually everything has a down side—they never learn to fend for themselves. And even if your kids are little, sweet, and the apples of your eye, believe me, some day, you’ll want them to. So part of being a good mother is knowing when to step in and when to back off. Since we are supposedly raising our children to function as independent individuals with a minimum of input from mom and dad, it’s important to allow them to test the waters regularly on the journey of life, even if it means that they have to occasionally swallow a few mouthfuls in the process.
But no parent wants to see their child fail. From the moment the little bundle is placed in our arms, our every instinct is to protect our offspring at all costs, a trait we share with many other of God’s creatures.
View any National Geographic documentary depicting interaction between animals and their young, and witness the remarkable lengths to which the critters will go to protect their babies, even at the expense of their own lives. (I can also relate to those creatures who on occasion feel the urge to eat their young, but that’s another story.) While I have no doubt that we, as the “thinking” species, would all go to the same protective lengths were they demanded of us, there are areas in which the animals, despite our supposed cognitive superiority, have us beat.
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Those same National Geographic specials, while depicting the great devotion of mothers to their young, also present moments when mom appears to be ignoring junior, just as he is about to step into a mountain of trouble. He takes the plunge, and as he is about to go under for the third time, mom ambles over, scoops the straying munchkin out of harm’s way, swats him on the head, and calmly goes back to munching on berries.