Tough Love: Because Your Mommy Loves You by Andrew Clements
WHEN THE PACK ON YOUR PACK FEELS LIKE A GIANT ROCK,
YOUR MOMMY COULD SAY, "HERE, I'LL CARRY IT FOR YOU.
BUT SHE DOESN'T.
YOU BOTH SIT DOWN A WHILE AND SHARE A HANDFUL OF RAISINS.
THEN SHE HELPS YOU STRAP ON YOUR PACK AGAIN,
AND UP THE TRAIL YOU GO.
A mom and her little boy are off for an overnight camping trip. It's a new experience for the youngster, carrying his own backpack, crossing the creek on a wobbly fallen log, putting up a tent by following the instructions step by step, but instead of taking over and doing the hard part herself, this wise mom gives the child the chance to learn to do it for himself. In the process she manages to give the child more than just a helping hand--she gives him success, the feeling of competence that only comes from mastering a new skill and overcoming fear.
When dark comes and the boy starts to shiver as they sit around the campfire, this mom has the wisdom to hand him the flashlight and send him back to the dark tent where he left his fleecy jacket.
AND AFTER YOU FIND IT
YOU PULL IT ON AND HURRY BACK TO THE FIRE,
AND THE TWO OF YOU SNUGGLE EXTRA CLOSE.
What parents need to give their children most is a loving space in which to learn to be independent, and that is the theme of Andrew Clements' new picture book, Because Your Mommy Loves You (Clarion, 2012), charmingly illustrated by R. W. Alley. A companion book to Clements' earlier Because Your Daddy Loves You, his new entry, with its subtle reminder to the so-called "helicopter parents" among us to give children the gift of independence, makes good reading for Mothers' Day or any time.