July 2, 2012
On day two, I had an interesting parenting insight from 1 Nephi 2:2. Lehi had been preaching the upcoming destruction of Jerusalem, as commanded by God. Obviously the Jerusalem-ites didn't want to hear that they were wicked so they responded by threatening Lehi's life. In response to this dilemma, God commanded Lehi to get the heck out of Jerusalem.
I was again admiring Lehi for the way he responded to this commandment. If I were Lehi I think a part of me would have felt cheated. Thank you very much, God, I would have thought. I did exactly what you asked and now instead of protecting me, you're telling me I better run for it.
As I thought about this, an image came to mind of being spotted in weightlifting or gymnastics. The goal of spotting is to help the person the absolute least amount necessary for them to complete their rep or their backflip, or whatever. A good spotter doesn't do any more than what is absolutely necessary. This way (in weightlifting) the person being spotted gets to maximize the work that their muscles are doing.
In gymnastics, the gymnast who is being spotted well can feel a hint of what she needs to adjust in order to complete a skill and is just helped enough to gain confidence.
I decided this is what God often chooses to do for his children. I also decided it is an excellent model to follow for raising Lillian. Often, when she is asking me for help, I try to encourage her to try to do it on her own and then I help her just as much as necessary. For example, if she is begging me to help her up onto the couch, instead of picking her up and putting her on the couch, I allow her to try to climb up herself. If I can see that she is struggling, I put my hand under one of her feet to give her a foothold, but I don't push her, I allow her to do it by herself. With physical things, this is natural to me because I've done so much spotting in my life. I think the difficulty for me will come when I need to do emotional and/or spiritual spotting. Heavenly Father knows his stuff.