I came across this pin on Pinterest. The dad in the photograph certainly is devoted to his daughter. Indeed, it is the rare dad who is willing to don a tiny pink backpack for the walk to school each morning. He clearly loves his daughter and celebrates her interests and passions. What a guy!
While this dad is obviously a caring and dedicated dad, there is something else that he can do to express his love for his daughter: encourage her to carry her backpack by herself.
As parents, we often confuse being the best parent with doing everything for our kids. Parents today often feel that they are better serving their children by raising them in “optimal” conditions, giving them the best of everything, and taking on their difficult tasks. I think of all the “perfect” birthday parties, amazing summer camp opportunities and picture-perfect school projects that kids have today. I also think about parents who are cleaning up after their kids, helping them to get dressed, and running interference when misunderstandings arise at school.
The truth is that children must learn to do things for themselves so that they can become confident, self-reliant adults. Independence doesn’t just happen. At each developmental stage, children can take on appropriate levels of responsibility for themselves that guide them toward self-sufficiency in the long term. For children starting school, carrying and hanging up their backpack is a terrific example of what they can--and should--do for themselves. It is, of course, the child’s backpack. How can we expect the child to take responsibility for it (and ultimately her learning), if her dad is carrying it for her?