Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Similarly, we do not always need to provide our children with answers and instead, we can provide them with direction to find answers. It is sometimes easier to blurt out the answers to questions our children may have. If we provide the answers to all our children’s questions, we can be certain they will keep asking and not think for themselves. We will not always be around when they need to make their own decisions, so it is best to get them into the habit of thinking for themselves.
This also holds true for co-workers, peers, friends, family, and anyone else that may be asking you for your help. I am not saying we should not help, but by providing guidance versus the solution or answers, we are setting up our friends and family for success. To further clarify, I can share an example. At work a co-worker would constantly ask me for help in a system they were not too familiar with. They knew I had more expertise in this particular system, so it was always easier for me to complete their work. It would take them 20 minutes, while I could complete the task under 1 minute. The problem is they did not take the time to learn the system and fully understand the processes within the system. Although it was easier to complete their work than teaching them, teaching them would be more beneficial in the future. I did set some time aside to further help them learn the system. This 30 minute investment ended up freeing up my future time down the road because they were no longer asking for my help.
There are countless examples such as this and I want to emphasize that investing your time to get someone else on their feet and running is important. It is also a great investment to teach our children to think for themselves and develop critical thinking from a young age. When they are faced with difficult decisions later in life, they will realize these teachings did pay off. You can worry less and know your children are making the better decisions. Just a few thoughts I had on direction and guidance for your children.