Family Friday: What a scary vacation moment taught me as a parent.

published12 months ago
4 min read

Hi there, it's Finley 👋🏼 and Happy Friday.

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When fear is too much

There is one common emotion that every parent feels on some level.

From the moment you find out you are going to be a mom or dad, it comes knocking on your front door.

That emotion is fear.

The stakes are so high.
The lack of control is real.
The outcomes are undefined.
The world is a dangerous place.

We've had a lot of scary moments in our family but one stands out above the rest.

During the summer of 2017 our family got to experience the trip of a lifetime spending two weeks in Maui together. Our kids were 13, 12, and 9.

They were the perfect age to push the adventure meter higher. Old enough to accomplish a lot but young enough to make every experience feel like a huge one.

We'd had several days of chasing waterfalls, snorkeling, and surfing. We were growing more comfortable with the sneaky power of Hawaii and let our guard down too much.

We were out on another adventure day and decided to hike down to the Olivine Pools along the northern Maui coast.

We paused at a sign that gave a clear warning about the potential dangers but didn't take them seriously. It was beyond beautiful. We had to get closer.

After some time, my kids started climbing around on the volcanic rock that overlooked the ocean and of course, we told them to be careful.

What we didn't know was that a large wave had been gathering power and was about to slam into the rock they were playing on.

I wasn't looking when all of a sudden water came pouring over the top of the rock surface and knocked my kids over. My son was old enough and strong enough to catch his balance, but my youngest daughter was knocked off her feet.

She started sliding down the volcanic rock on her stomach getting severe cuts all along her body. Thankfully, my son grabbed her and kept her from falling all the way off the rocks causing further injury.

There were gasps, cuts, tears, apologies, and a long hike out carrying our bleeding daughter.

As the wave knocked our kids over we were scared on the deepest level as parents. Our fear was as big as the wave.

We felt like failures. We should have protected our kids. They were counting on us.

When I talk young parents around town, I've started taking notes and fear seems to be a top 3 emotion in every conversation.

Everyone feels the tension of their role but where is the line between pushing and protecting?

How do parents differentiate between the persistent fears we feel deep down and the garden variety we feel more often?

Since fear can be both healthy and unhealthy, I want to suggest we address it head-on.

Parents need to:

Accept it.
Verbalize it.
Dethrone it.

Fear is common but it can also become crippling.

Living with appropriate fear as a parent is an act of common grace. We know that our kids need our protection and years of experience.

Sharp corners. Running with scissors. Crossing streets.
Mean girls. Internet browsers. Left turns in traffic.

Some parents are more prone to fear-based parenting than others.

While it could be your intention to prevent all the catastrophes, you may do more harm than good.

Fear comes from a place of love for your kids but don't allow it to force you into surrounding them with bubble wrap every day.

Kindergartners miss more school days per year than any other grade because of the viruses they catch. Those small sicknesses early keep them in school long term.

Fear loses power when we verbalize it.

Having an opportunity to express your fears as a parent helps to lessen their potency.

Trusted people will listen to your heart and thoughts. Sometimes their occasional wisdom might talk you off the ledge.

It's easy to lose sight of the long-term big picture when you are too caught up in the prevention of pain.

Placing your fears into tiers can help too. Everything shouldn't be a Tier 1 concern.

Sharing your fears with your kids in an age-appropriate way is also important so they know the heart behind what you are thinking.

Fear reminds us that we must exercise faith.

While you have the privileged burden of parenthood every morning that you wake up, you know that you don't possess any superpowers.

As much love as you have for your kids, you can't protect them from everything that haunts you.

I have a saying that I share with new dads: "You need to spend years of your life on your knees, both playing and praying."

Trusting God with your kid's hearts, minds and bodies is an act of faith.

When you "cast your cares on the Lord" (Ps. 55:22) it releases you from the pressures of holding all your fears together at once.

What fears are currently weighing on you right now?

I would love to know and would happily be a listening ear.

I'm available to be a place for you to verbalize your fears and it would help me too, to know what parents in your season are most concerned about.

Please reply back when you can!

Think like an Investor

Kristen Ivy

"There is no such thing as an instant return on faith or character.

We can keep so busy that we never engage in work that has a lasting impact. We get so preoccupied with what we can measure that we don't give attention to what we can't measure.

Did you ever stop to think:

The reason you can't monitor emotional growth is because it's too gradual.

The reason you can't predict pivotal moments is because they're too unpredictable.

The best thing you can do is choose to keep investing in what you can't see. Be present for what you are not sure is happening. Trust that your investment will ultimately see a return."

We're Better Together

Have other parent friends with 3-13 yr olds who'd enjoy this
Family Friday Newsletter?

When you share your unique link 3 times, I'll follow up with an opportunity for us to talk & process your individual family life right now!


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Power-Decade Parenting

Helping propel moms & dads of 3 to 13 year-olds to invest in their power-decade of parenting. Father of 3 teenagers and pastor of 20 years turned digital writer.

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