The Mama Bear Mistake

We all we wish life was easy. We all think that a perfect world involves a world where no one has problems and everything comes easy to everyone. That’s bullshit. I know it’s been said before (and I’m pretty sure I’ve even touched on this on past posts) but struggle is what gives life meaning. Sure you’ll get instant gratification from a couple of drinks at a fun party, but real happiness is derived from hard work and struggle. Think about the feeling you got when you finished college. You weren’t just happy because it was hard and it’s finally over. You were happy because despite the struggle, you finished. You succeeded. When looking back on past accomplishments in life, I have to imagine that no one brags about how many times they partied or how many shots they took that one night. The real things people take pride in are the lives we’veimpacted, relationships we’ve formed, and so on. Whatever the thing is that will give you real happiness and fulfilment in life, I guarantee that it will have a cost which will involve some struggle.

That brings us to what I’m gonna call, the Mama Bear Mistake. I think deep down, most human beings are deeply empathetic creatures when it comes to friends and, more prominently, in family. We don’t want to see our family go through hardships or mishaps. This gives most of us the self righteous inclination to help out. To relieve the ones we love from their struggles because we think that will make them happy. While the sentiment is beautiful, it’s crap. When you deprive someone of struggle, you deprive them of the opportunity to grow and become better.

Don’t mistake this for me calling for an end to all charitable organizations and a call to start snubbing all of your friends and family in need. Certain people have certain struggles that require the help of others and you should feel inclined to help out, but there is a way to properly help. Just because someone has it hard doesn’t mean you should solve all of their problems and let them sit idly by. This causes people to become dependant and is the equivalent of using duct tape to fix your car. It’s a temporary fix that won’t hold up and will almost certainly result in more problems.

A great example is me when I was in elementary school. I was tested positive for ADD and had difficulty reading. A white person problem to be sure, but it didn’t make school easy. This made schoolwork a living hell and gave me a natural aversion of reading. I spent an average of 3 hours a night on homework and often didn’t even finish. I wouldn’t read unless it was absolutely necessary, I never even gave Harry Potter a chance. Fortunately, my dad did not give a fuck about my learning setbacks. He only cared that I learn to adapt. He would randomly force me to right book reports on random books and would ground me if I didn’t finish or lied about reading it. He offered me $10 for every book I chose to read on my own. Eventually, I reached a point where I could finished all five Game of Thrones books in 6 months with no cash incentive (humble brag). My mom was no different. She would sit with me every night for three hours and made sure I finished my homework. Soon it became two hours, then one hour, and by the time I turned 13 I was able to do it all by myself in a normal amount of time. I ended up raising my grades and was able to get into a decent college. School nights were hell when I was young but I’m happy it was. I learned that even if something is difficult, it’s not impossible. It just requires hard work.

My parents could have easily went a different route. They are their own people and had lives of their own. I’m sure their dipshit son’s learning disabilities were a real thorn in their social lives and took away from them enjoying their weeknights. They could’ve just done the homework for me in half an hour (which I often argued would be quicker than them sitting with me doing it) and enjoy their nights. They could have paid someone else to do it. They could’ve let me not read and not take school seriously saying it’s not for me. Thankfully, they didn’t. They busted their ass and mine and made sure that I came out of school as a somewhat self sufficient human being.

I’m so thankful that they did this but many aren’t as lucky because some parents aren’t hard asses like them. While some parents are too lazy to put the effort, the problem for others is the Mama Bear Mistake. Some parents care about their child so much they don’t want to see them go through any hardship or struggle. They want their child to be happy all the time and get the Mama Bear instinct to protect their child. This in my opinion, is actually doing more harm than good. These parents are depriving their children of experiences and opportunities to learn and grow. Growing up I’ve had friends whose parents do their homework in hopes of relieving their child of stress. I know people who allowed their children to bum around all summer because they didn’t get the job at camp they wanted. Shit like this hurts children. As good as the intention might be, happy and pressure-free childhoods are overrated and harmful.

We are defined the hardships we go through. This doesn’t apply just to parents. This applies to everyday people. We all have friends and family members who are down on their luck. The easiest thing is to just throw a little money at them and solve whatever immediate problem they may have. It’s easy because it’s quick.  The right thing takes time but we don’t like to think about it because giving time is harder than giving money.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” If someone is struggling figure out why. Are they just lazy? Do they have problems? There’s always a reason. If someone is constantly between jobs, maybe they’re chasing the wrong jobs. Or maybe they’re doing everything right and just have shitty luck. The point is while you don’t want them to drown in the sea of life you also can’t just save them and throw them by the shore when you know they’ll fall back in. Help them learn to swim or your dooming them to a life of misfortune. But hey what do I know? I’m just who used to have ADD and reading deficiencies.

4 thoughts on “The Mama Bear Mistake

  1. I really hope I’ll have to strength to let me children fail. When my toddler falls over I usually just say “oh dear” and he gets back up.

    I have a family member who is constantly being bailed out of debt by his parents. He’ll never learn to be good with money if they keep doing that. People need to fail and to learn from failure. And to be told failing isn’t a bad thing, so long as you take a lesson from it.

    And please don’t be hard on yourself about your learning difficulties as a child. You couldn’t help it and your parents knew it. I’m glad they left you to learn to cope with it rather than protect you from it. Reading just this post you come across as a strong person.

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    1. Thanks! Good to hear an actual parent agrees with the concept.

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  2. I like the helpful information you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your weblog and check again here frequently. I’m quite sure I’ll learn many new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!

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  3. I enjoy reading through a post that will make people think. Also, thank you for allowing for me to comment!

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