One of my professors noted earlier this semester that one of the wonders of parenthood is watching your children blossom. She said that if you allow your kids to chart their own destiny, they can develop themselves personally and professionally in brilliant ways that you could never have imagined or planned for them. So, if you force a particular path on them, you will never experience that kind of surprising wonder for yourself. Psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg argued the same for children’s intellectual and moral development:
“If you want your kids to learn about the physical world, let them play with cups and water; don’t lecture them about the conservation of volume. And if you want your kids to learn about the social world, let them play with other kids and resolve disputes; don’t lecture them about the Ten Commandments. And, for heaven’s sake, don’t force them to obey God or their teachers or you. That will only freeze them at the conventional level [which comprise the fourth and fifth of a six-stage progression of children’s reasoning about the social world].” (The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt, p. 10).
One would hope that once you have raised a child to a certain age that you would have faith that all the lessons you, society, and years of schooling and life experiences have instilled in them will take root, and that they could theoretically navigate life independently without requiring too much intervention unless, of course, there is a real threat of imminent harm or danger.
If only that were the case for me.