My 3 year-old daughter was walking down the stairs in our home. When she was half way down, she tripped and started to fall face-first down the steps. I was on the other side of the railing and I saw her reach out and grab the railing to keep from face-planting and tumbling down the steps.
Thankfully, she grabbed on and kept herself from rolling down the remaining steps. The way that she grabbed ahold of the railing, though, left her feet on a step higher than where she was holding on so she was sort of parallel to the ground with her tummy above one of the lower steps, her face pressed into the railing and her toes on one of the higher steps.
She was understandably frightened and started yelling for help. I saw that she was fine and not in any danger, so I looked at her squished little face through the railing and told her, "Good catch! You almost tumbled down the steps."
She repeated her cry for help and I told her, "Just stand up, sweet pea."
"No Dada! I need you help me!" she kept yelling.
I smiled back at her, "No you don't. Just stand up, sweet pea."
After a few more iterations of telling her to stand up, she worked up the courage to look back up the stairs and to slowly pull her feet down the steps and back underneath her body. At this point she stood up and started giggling.
Clearly, there are situations which require adult intervention and care. I suspect, however, that there are many more instances where parents would do more good for their kids if they simply stood back and let their kids solve the problems themselves.
Letting your kid solve their own problems teaches them that they're strong and capable. It teaches them to be self-reliant and strong.
Solving your kid's problems for them teaches your kid that they need daddy to take care of them and that they can't do it themselves.
To pass this week's challenge, you have to get to the range.
No excuses. If you don't have a rifle, pistol, or shotgun, most ranges will rent one and teach you to use it. Chances are, a friend can lend you one. Train hard and keep your skills sharp. No one else is better positioned to keep you safe than you are. Be good at it.
I had a boss once that asked a lot of me. He routinely asked me to do things that I didn't know how to do and expected me to get it done.
He gave me one task in particular that had a deadline that I quickly realized I couldn't meet. There was just too much on my plate and not enough hours in the day. I went back to break the news to him, "Hey sir, about that task you gave me earlier. I can't get it done on time because-"
"No. Fuck that!" he interrupted my expertly crafted excuse. "Listen, don't ever tell me you can't do something. Tell me what you need to get it done."
He went on to explain that I was evaluating my ability to accomplish the task solely based on myself and my own resources and limitations. He pointed out that the task could be easily accomplished if I asked that he assign another person to help me or if he pushed the deadline back by a day.
That single lesson has been foundational in shaping my view of myself and how I approach life and my parenting. It's a struggle to teach this to my sons because so many other adults in their lives allow them to say "I can't" and let them slide. Truthfully, sometimes I find myself among them.
The times when I catch myself, however, I've been able to turn what would otherwise be a frustrating failure into a teachable moment. My goal is to instill in my sons, early in their lives, the mind set of being able to look at a daunting and difficult task and not quit before they've even tried to overcome it.
The list of reasons why you can't do something is going to be long and reasonable. Don't look at that list and think to yourself, "Here's why I can't do that." Instead, think "What do I need in order to enable myself to overcome these obstacles?"
To pass this week's challenge, you have to eat only a cup of rice & beans for a day.
The abundance that we have in Western society is tremendous. It's easy to become complacent with consuming the fruits of that abundance and to lose sight of just how good we've got it. Take the opportunity to remind yourself that while abundance and indulgence are fun and enjoyable, it's not required or even necessary for your survival.
You're stronger and more durable than you give yourself credit for. Try it out, just for a day.