Leading My Children to the Fire

I heard a quote today about parenting from Glennon Doyle that I wholeheartedly agreed with. She stated that as a parent, it’s not our job to protect our children from feeling pain. It’s our job to point them to the fires of their lives and then walk them through those fires so they can figure out they are fireproof.



As an educator and mother I completely know the importance of teaching your children how to live life rather than living it for them. Innately we want to shield them from experiencing pain. We want them to feel comfortable as they are growing. As a preschool administrator, I often teach parents the importance of allowing children to make mistakes. It’s an important trait as a parent. It’s from those mistakes and experiences that build character.

However, there’s a little part of me that feels rebellious to that advice. I agree that we all have the power to be fireproof and it takes being in and getting through fires to know that it won’t overtake us. On the other hand, how do we know which fires to go through? As a parent, at what point do you point them through the fire and know which one is for them? What happens when you aren’t sure which fire to put them through?

Right now we are looking to apply for middle/high schools for my 11 year old daughter and it has been tough.

As someone who has been through the elementary school application process and who teaches parents to apply to elementary schools, I came into this process feeling pretty confident. I created a notebook with color coded tabs for each school I planned to visit and notes for each school and I felt prepared. I had a strategy, I knew who Eryn was and what would be good for our family and I wasn’t stressed at all.

Fast Forward to today, two days away from an early admission deadline and about 4 weeks away from regular deadlines; I feel completely the opposite. I’m unsure. I’m insecure. I’m worried and I’m second guessing every decision.

This process has forced us as parents to look within in a way that I wasn’t expecting. I’ve been forced as a mom, to look within at my beliefs, at my desires and at my shortcomings. Although it’s about getting Eryn into a good school, it’s really been about me and I’m struggling.

When I heard that quote today it helped me realize why it’s been hard for me. I feel pressure to make sure I’m not sending her to a fire that will overtake her. Or if I’m really honest, I’m concerned that I won’t know how to help her walk through the fire.

Choosing a school for my 11 year old for what I desire for her from 12-18 years old is difficult because I have questions. Is who she is now going to be who she is then? Am I sending her down the right path? Will this fire consume her instead of strengthen her? Is she ready for these fires? Am I ready for these fires?

When I write I usually have an answer. Today, I do not and although I feel uncomfortable about that I’m okay. I’m excited because I’m allowing myself to be raw and vulnerable. I’m allowing myself the space to grow and ask questions. I don’t have the answer today but I know I will soon. The most important lesson is that I know I can’t be afraid to lead my children to the fire and I know I will find my strength.

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