I sat outside the medical building waiting for my wife and daughter to finish at the pediatrician's office. A cute young boy about three years old was on crutches and exiting the building with his mother.

They walked to their car and the mother opened the back door for the boy to climb in. As he was getting situated, he fell to the floorboard of the car but quickly picked himself up and got back into his seat.

As I watched this entire situation unfold, I was hit with a "reality check" of my own parenting attitudes, behaviors, and perceptions. You see, what made the situation unique, is the boy was hobbling with one crutch under his right arm.

No, he didn't have a cast, injured ankle or broken leg...he didn't have a right leg at all! I was shocked to see such a young child missing a limb. But an even bigger shock came as the Lord used it to teach me some lessons as a parent.

Lesson 1:
Suddenly I became so thankful for my children—thankful for them just the way they are. I began to appreciate all of the attributes that each one of them posses.

Too many times it is easy to focus on the negatives and not the positives. When you compare your problems or difficulties to what others are going through, you suddenly realize how fortunate you are.

Lesson 2:
I thought for sure when the mother and son got to the car she would help him get in. No way! He wasn't going to let a minor setback in life stop or slow him down.

How many times do we let a small headache, lack of sleep, or a difficult situation ruin our day?

The next time you're having a "bad day," bend one leg behind you, wrap it several times with duct tape and leave it that way for 24 hours. Maybe that will help you keep things in perspective.

Lesson 3:
How many times do we rescue or try to assist our children and teenagers? I became a better parent as I watched this mother.

She didn't focus on the boy's obvious weakness. When he fell to the floorboard of the car, I almost jumped out and ran to help him because the mother gave him no attention.

Guess what? The boy with one leg climbed back into the seat. How would he ever learn to make it in this world with one leg if every time he stumbled his parents ran to pick him up?

Mom and dad, don't cripple your children for life by teaching them to be dependent on you! If you really love them, then you have to allow them to make mistakes and give them some room to fly.

Copyright © Dean Hawk Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.