Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Power of a Parent

I'm a sucker for feel-good videos. So when a Facebook friend posted a link to a singing audition of an  9-year-old boy -- Boy Breaks Down and Cries During Audition, Then Amazes Everyone -- I couldn't help but click on the link.

I'm so glad I did!

His voice is amazing. The look on Simon's face is priceless; anyone who can move Simon Cowell's face to softness is indeed amazing. But what impressed me most was the boy's mom.

When she saw that her son needed her, she was there. She didn't hesitate in the wings, letting all the "shoulds" and social proprieties and what-will-the-judges-think get in the way. She saw her boy in pain, and her mother heart responded immediately. Without asking anyone, without second-guessing herself, she went out to her son.

There's a lot of discussion today about helicopter parents and parents who impede their kids' development by handling problems for them. There's a long-standing school of thought that says moms can smother and inhibit their sons by being too close to them. And while experts and parents everywhere debate the merits of hands-on vs. hands-off parenting, individual parents are left to make the call. What's supporting? What's smothering? Where do we draw the line, and how do we know the difference?

I know this: the line is different for everyone. I have four children. Their needs are not the same. One may need to be pushed a bit in a certain situation, while even a subtle nudge for another in a similar situation might be enough to make him crumble. My kids are all individuals, and they need to be treated as such.

Enter the mother heart. Yesterday, I wrote about the importance of knowing your sons, of responding to your intuition. That's where your mother (or father) heart comes in handy. When you know your sons, your gut will also always tell you how to handle a situation. Your gut -- not any parenting book or blog -- will tell you what you need to do for that individual child at that particular moment.

Malaki's mom knew that he needed a hug, and she gave it to him, right then and there. She didn't hold herself back because some book or some expert says that she needs to teach her son resilence, or how to manage the world on his own. She trusted her heart, and hugged her son.

It worked.

Go back and rewatch the video. See that bit at the end, of Malaki and his mom walking off into the distance? See how he swings her arms and leans into her? That's the sight of a boy who is confident in his connection to his mom. He knows that she will always be there for him, and I don't think that's a dysfunctional thing at all. He's 9-years-old, and at 9, what he needs to know is that he's not alone. He needs to know that he is safe and secure. Later, from that secure base, he will explore and grow into the world.

The power of parenting never ceases to amaze me.


  1. Loved this. So glad you shared it - it really made me think, and was moving.

  2. YES. love this. we need to trust ourselves and what we know is right for our kids.