The education establishment has a new term, "helicopter parent". They use
it to refer to parents who hover over their children. They now warn
parents not to be helicopter parents, but to stay out of the way and let
the educators have full control.
One wonders if they have somehow lost the definition of the word "parent". And
We mothers spent nine months living with each of our children, 24/7. We
felt every kick, roll, and hiccup. We could tell if they liked what we
were listening to, or what we ate. We knew if the child living within us
was energetic or calm even before we saw that child’s face.
And when each of our little ones moved into his own living space, we knew
what every cry meant. We knew how that tiny person liked to be held, and
how to make her smile. And when those smiles happened, our whole day was
We encouraged the first steps and the first words. We bandaged the first
boo-boos. We watched each milestone our child passed on his way to
independence with equal parts of pride and bittersweet joy.
We shared in every triumph, with even more pride than we took in any action
of our own. And we suffered with our children, sharing in their pain in
ways deeper than we could ever have imagined.
We know the favorite flavor of ice cream, the favorite color, and the
favorite movie of each of our children.
When they become adults, we stand proudly at graduations and weddings and
wonder how the toddler became the grown-up in just one day.
Each of our children moved out of our wombs, but none of them moved out of
Mothers were designed to hover. And children were designed to thrive when
they are so cherished.
It’s beyond sad that we live in a world where that natural relationship is
denigrated instead of respected. Where our children are taught that the
person who brought them into the world is "just a mother", whose value to
society is somehow second-class. Where even the title "Mother" is diluted
to include any and all women, as if those who bear children are not doing
something unique and valuable.
The most disturbing part of this new world view is the harm it does to
children. If a woman is "just a mother", than the little one she nurtures
is "just a child". Not a unique and priceless and eternal addition to the
universe who was called into life by an almighty Father, but just another
kid who is no different from all the others.
If we truly valued our children, we would value those who care for them,
just as we value the jewelers who care for diamonds. In the case of the
jeweler, we don’t tell him not to "hover". We listen to, respect, and
follow his advice because we understand that he knows more about his
diamonds than we do.
We mothers know our little diamonds better than any jeweler. Instead of
telling us not to hover, perhaps it would be wise to listen to what we have
to say. And perhaps we mothers need to get back into our helicopters and
insist upon it.
Happy Mother’s Day!