Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Peter Parker Picked a Peck of Prickly Problems

I don't watch a lot of movies, but the other night I did get to see the last half of Spider-Man 2. I'm not well-versed on my Spider-Man stories, but in this movie, I gathered that, of course, Peter Parker was the hero and Dr. Octopus was the villain. I came upon the movie during the scene when Dr. Octopus attempts to destroy Spider-Man by running an elevated train off into nothingness. The train hurtles along at top speed, filled with passengers, right toward a gaping hole in the bridge. They will surely plummet to their death if Spidey can't do something about it.

So, Spider-Man, being the unflinching hero he is, throws strands of silk at nearby buildings in an effort to stop the train. But the strands ping and snap just like guitar strings during a heavy metal concert. Not to be detterd, Spidey shoots more and more cords of webs and thankfully, the train begins to slow. But the hole in the bridge is approaching too fast and it appears it will be too late. Spider-Man holds on tightly, his arms aching, the fabric of his ultra-tight hero outfit stretching and tearing. Just at the edge of the precipice, the train stops and a spent Spider-Man crumbles out the broken front window of the train. The grateful passengers slowly and gingerly pull the Speedo-wearing Spidey back in and lower him to the floor.

But Dr. Octopus is not through with him. He squirms into the cab and threatens to finish off the now-exhausted hero. This time the occupants of the train don't take it standing powerless. They step in front of their hero and attempt to take on the tentacled villain. Okay, so now if you've never seen the movie, you are caught up to speed. And if you've seen it, hopefully you can picture it again in your mind.

I thought to myself, "This scene is a perfect example of how we live life with our kids. There are two responses when they come across obstacles and trials". Both responses are valid and good. The wisdom comes in knowing when to use which approach.

There will be times when our kids face an obstacle, trial, or situation that they must tackle on their own. It may be a situation that comes upon them or even one of their own making. They will be served best by coming through it in their own strength, on their own terms, and learning the lessons that only can be gained by experience. We can stand there and cheer them on, but we must take a hands-off approach. When they have survived the trial, we should be there to help them down, tending their wounds, letting them rest and refocus and supporting them in any way we can. But we can't fight the fight for them. They will only be stronger in making their own mistakes, standing up to their own fears, and having ultimate responsibility for the outcome. That's easier said than done and it may take a lot of nail-biting, tongue-holding, and hand-wringing on your part. Everyone needs a cheerleader.

But there will be times when situations come along and our kids are not in a position to fight them alone. They may not be strong enough. They may not be mature enough. It may be a situation that is too dangerous or the consequences of failure too high for us to allow them to fight it alone. That is when we need to step in. Stand up to the "villain" and say, "If you are going to do this, you will have to go through me first." Independence is one thing, but the guardianship of our kids' hearts, souls, minds, and bodies is our responsibility. Take that responsibility seriously. Guard them fiercely. Everyone needs a hero.

Friday's post Getting Into Character: The Feeler

No comments:

Post a Comment