Tough Love

Do you know how eagles teach their young how to fly?

First, Papa Eagle builds a nest made of strong twigs and sharp thorns and covers them with soft grass to make it comfortable.  Not contented, Mama Eagle would pluck her own feathers to add more comfort. Several times, food are just brought to the kids without them lifting a feather.  Whenever there is a storm, Mama Eagle would just spread her enormous wings to cover her young.  What a beautiful life for the eaglets.

But then, when it’s time for the eaglets to learn to fly, life is about to drastically change.  First, Mama Eagle stops bringing food.  The eaglets would cry for hunger, ‘Mommy, Mommy’ and nothing seems to be heard.  Next, Mama Eagle would then remove the soft grass and every comfort in the nest allowing the thorns to be exposed, pricking the sensitive skin of the eaglets. ‘Ouch!’ The young eaglets cry. Then nightmare starts.  Mama Eagle throws the eaglets out of the nest.  The little ones would insist on coming back to the nest but they will be pushed again until they fall off the cliff, ten thousand feet above the ground. Down, down they go.  Before they hit the ground, Papa Eagle swoops down and catches them and brings them back to the nest.  Before the eaglets catch their breath and figure out what had just happened, Mama Eagle would kick them out again until they figure out the message and start flapping their wings.  Soon, the eaglets are confident and soaring along with their proud parents.

Parents who shield their kids too much from the realities of the world are preventing their kids to grow their wings and be able to fly on their own.  As parents, we need to understand that tough love doesn’t mean loving less.  If Mama Eagle listened to the cries of her young when they were struggling to learn how to fly and instead stopped the training and cuddled them, the eaglets will grow up to be like chickens.  If you prevent them from experiencing pain, you are depriving your child’s necessary steps to grow and eventually become dependent all his life.

If you want to eat an egg, regardless if you want it hard-boiled, sunny side up, or omelet, what do you do first?  First, you break the egg.  Why? Because you don’t want to eat the shell.  Nobody eats the egg shell.  Seriously, why? Because the best part is what is inside the shell.

If you want to eat an orange, what do you do?  First, you chop it.  Then you squeeze it in order it’s juice to come out.

Plants need pruning.  Fire shapes metal.  Sculptors chisel and hammer the stone to create their masterpiece.

The pattern of going through pain first in order to grow and be blessed is incredibly embedded in the fabric of life.

I know of some people who came from close-knit families, went to good schools, resources are within reach yet they are failing in life.  Common reason why they are failing, is because they have very protective parents.  They are just so afraid to try.  They don’t want to come out of their shell.  In spite of the blessings they have, all you hear from them are rants why life is so hard.

I am a parent to a two year kid.  I know the instinct to protect and to pamper.  Between my wife and I, I am the more protective one.  Every time our son throws a tantrum and would lie on the floor and cry, I have the tendency to pick him up and cradle.  But knowing that it would not help him in the long run, I would inhibit myself, leave the scene and let my wife handle him.

If you are a parent, allow your kids to fail.  Allow your kids to commit mistakes, to be hurt, to lose.  It is in these moments that their character is tested and shaped.  Just be there with them.  Your presence is all they need.

If you have been too much protected as a child, life is not yet over.  Have the courage to try things out and reach for your dreams.  Fear is an illusion.  Failure is but a step to success.

If you are going through some pain now, if you think you are being squeezed to the point of suffocation, have faith, be patient, be still, because the best part is what is inside the shell.

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