How long does a structure need a support before it can stand alone? Or, how long does a child need nurturing before he or she becomes truly independent?
I thought about this after having a conversation during these holidays. I was reminded of the educational term called scaffolding. They are simple support systems put in place to help the learner achieve a higher level of mastery and independence.
We both agreed that scaffolds or supports are there to assist us until we can rise, walk, trot or jog on down our paths. They were never meant to be permanent and these aids can help us get ‘back on our feet again?’
They are there for us to lean on during a spell or season, but rarely for an entire lifetime. Help comes and help goes; but the ultimate aim is to operate and function without the extra scaffolds. It is quite similar to the training wheels on a bicycle. At some point, they must come off or their purpose is defeated.
As many gather for these annual festivities, we should remember to grant each person his or her own autonomy. We should not expect our loved ones to do what they have done in the past. If they decide to switch it up, it is okay.
What was, simply may not be, anymore. All should be free to thrive in their own comfort zones. If someone has been that anchor, listening ear or helping hand in the past, we should give thanks. But just as the seasons change, so do we.
When plants outgrow their older, smaller pots, a wise horticulturalist simply goes out and buys new soil and larger flowering pots. The old roots are cut back and the plants are repotted into more spacious containers, where they are allowed to stretch out and expand.
We too must show appreciation for those who have supported us on our journeys. They chose to do so. They have done what they could for us and we should grant them that admirable freedom to soar and move on. If anything, we should ask them, “How can I support you on your new flight plan?”
December 27, 2015