”There are two lasting bequests we can give children; one is roots, the other wings.”
This Hodding Carter quote is one of my all time favorites. These words influenced my book WING IT: 6 Simple Steps to Succeed as a Modern Day Parent. The entire book is comprised of two parts; Root It and Wing It. This combination is what has allowed me to help thousands of parents to develop their own confident foundations of successful parenting.
I believe, now more than ever, that parents need to help their children grow a purposeful balance of two things: roots and wings. Children today are more insightful than ever, growing up during a time of limitless possibilities. Parenting in the past generally involved more rooting, focused on keeping children close and teaching them that hard work is the only way to succeed. This classic parenting style often excludes any sense of encouragement for a child’s individual preferences, differences, and potential. Techniques used with this type of child-rearing philosophy are commonly influenced by preconceived expectations and impart shame on children who diverge from generational patterns. More often than not, there has been a great deal of rooting that fails to consider the whole child for most of humanity’s existence.
In more recent times, the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction, where parents overcompensated for the lack of emotional support they themselves experienced in their own childhood. This resulted in a generation of children who grew up with an inflated sense of self, lack of responsibility, entitlement and little motivation. It became evident that the movement to provide a child more wings was not the solution. Thankfully, there are a growing number of parents whose perspectives have evolved. Neither of these two parenting extremes meets the needs of the child, or the parent. Those who recognize the importance of blending stability and real faith expand their influence with raising well-balanced, independent children in today’s modern world.
Providing children with opportunities to build self-confidence and a strong sense of self is what roots them. Individuals who successfully navigate parenthood construct a solid foundation. Furthermore, they recognize, support, and trust in the potential of their child and remain flexible to whatever that may mean. Roots emerge when a child experiences a secure, liberating, and empowering upbringing. Parenting done right is a process that involves trust and intuition. Modern day rooting entails understanding and connecting with children from the inside out. It’s about loving them for who they are, not for who you hope they would be. Children need to feel grounded and accomplished as they explore their unique interests and capabilities.
In order to balance this rooting, parents must also hold space for their children to grow wings. Exposing them to new opportunities and holding courageous conversations provides children the freedom to grow towards their potential. The practice of allowing children to make decisions at an early age teaches them to be independent thinkers and trust their inner wisdom. It will allow them to slowly develop their wings so, as they grow, they’ll know when it’s time to fly. Children need consistent guidance from their parents, teachers, families, and communities to form brilliant foundations and to feel safe enough to branch out, spread their wings, and discover their greatness.
If unconditional love influences the way you parent, then you will have an easier time parenting and form a better relationship with your child. The parenting process is the gift. It’s not about the outcome or what it looks like to outsiders. Contemporary parents who support diverse perspectives and the absence of limiting beliefs organically promote confidence necessary for children to grow healthy roots and wings. Loving your child for who they are while proving a nurturing environment will help them develop into their best selves. Be sure to plant your child’s feet deep in the soil of consciousness so that they ascend with gumption and ambition to be everything they were born to be.