Don’t limit my experiences

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Toddlers learning to walk fall many times before they learn to balance their body weight and hold themselves upright. Imagine if every time the toddler toppled over to the ground, his mother picked him back up. The toddler would never learn to get back up. He wouldn’t have experienced the struggle of trying to push himself up after enduring a painful fall. He wouldn’t have learned what it meant to “get back up.” As Thomas Wayne stated in the movie Batman Begins, we fall “so we can to learn to pick ourselves up.”

It is important for us teens to gain experience at an early age because, let’s face it, pretty soon we’re going to have to start dealing with our own problems with college, high school, etc. As easy as things would be if they did, our parents do not live our lives for us. We may navigate these waters on our own using their teachings for guidance, but we must ultimately know how to handle things as independent individuals.

Parents often forget that while they hold our hand as we take our first steps in life, there comes a point when they have to let go and let us learn about the world through first-hand experience. Some parents argue that they don’t let go because they feel that their child has not reached a level of experience in which they can entrust them to venture out into the world on their own, that they’re “not ready yet.” But these same parents sometimes fail to realize that in many cases, it is because of overprotective parents that teens lack the experience or preparation necessary to be successful. How did cavemen figure out fire was dangerous? When they were burnt by it.

If experience is really the reason why adults believe we can’t be trusted to form our own views, then sheltering us from society isn’t going to help us learn or mature any better. Experience is the only way we can draw conclusions about our world and create a vision for a better one. However, one will only obtain such experience by facing the situations that give birth to the “experience” adults so highly value.

In the 21st century, people are often concerned with time. People seek to graduate early, get a job early, and be successful early. Parents hope that their children will grow to be one of these people, but in order to do so, parents must allow their children the necessary opportunities and experiences that are a part of great child development.

Instead of being sheltered from the world in fear of the harm that could result from their premature mistakes, children should be allowed to approach the world boldly and use their own judgment to make decisions and occasionally make mistakes. Instead of limiting the opportunities and experiences their children can have, parents should aim to allow children to have as many as possible. It is often experience that builds character. It is often opportunity that provides the chances for greatness people so often seek. To keep children away from both under the guise of “sheltering” or “protection” is simply doing more harm than good. If parents are going to have anything to do with the experiences their children have, it should only be that they either encourage them or guide them.

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