Whether they are young or old, people still have things to learn.
Now, of course we know how to get it done – those of us who complain about how often people lean on us.
Of course we know what to do next, we’ve done it over and over again.
But they haven’t.
Because we don’t let them.
Every time we jump in to save them from that feeling of struggle and stress, we are telling them we don’t think they can do it.
Not without us, or someone, or something, somewhere, or somehow.
We are telling them we think we can do it better, and maybe we can. But maybe they can too.
Maybe it doesn’t matter if it’s done better because it turns out they need to learn how to do it at all, unaided, before they can master it.
Of course we could get it done faster, more efficiently and cleaner. But it wasn’t always that way. At one point all of us were but wee ones, learning how to tie our shoes. We had to get our little fingers tangled up and get frustrated and start again.
Would we push them aside to walk for them, tie their shoes when they are 10, or chew their food for them?
Who are we to take away this chance to be great? who are we to think that they should have achieved greatness any sooner? who are we to think that they aren’t already great?
In all their flawed and fragile glory they are learning for themselves how to do what needs done.
It isn’t up to us to give them that chance. It’s for us to realize that it was never ours to give.
In fact, our desperate insistence to complete someone else’s work or meet their challenges is making this about us, and not them. It’s about our own desire for control, and we may tell ourselves it’s about the product, but if it isn’t ours to make then it’s not our shame if an inferior job was done.
It has more to do with our fear of repercussions or consequences of an imperfect result. It has everything to do with the expectations we set and the outcomes we prefer to see. But it’s not for us to set the standard for others; who are we to dictate to them?
It’s not that we can’t act in an advisory capacity, dole out advice, or provide coaching. But there comes a point when excessive instruction becomes nothing more than backseat driving or armchair quaterbacking.
Each of us has our journey in life, with pitfalls and turns and surprises. We develop at our own pace, learn lessons along the way, and eventually figure out what we need to.
It’s great to have family, friends, or a support network, but none of us needs mother-hen managing.