Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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What Jesus Thinks of Helicopter Parents
by Tom Goodman
January 7, 2009

As parents, our ambitions for our kids can get out of hand.  Most of us in Texas remember the 90s headlines about Wanda Holloway, the mom who wanted to help her middle-school daughter make it on the cheerleading squad.  After her daughter was passed over for a rival two years in a row, reporters said the ambitious mom tried to hire a hit man to take out the mother of her daughter's rival.

According to the Time magazine coverage, the mom was the organist at a local Baptist church in Channelview.  You can't make this stuff up.

When the middle school principal was interviewed about the bizarre incident, he said, "We all want our children to achieve.  There's a part of Wanda Holloway in all of us."

How true.  Oh, I doubt any of us are in danger of hiring hit men to knock off our kids' rivals.  But we can go too far in ensuring our kids reach our warped view of success.

A couple of years ago the term "helicopter parent" started showing up in news stories.  It was a reference to parents who "hovered" over their kids lives like a helicopter, ready to swoop in and fix whatever problems they saw.  I talked with one of our members on staff at the University of Texas, and she said that helicopter parents are real and they are numerous on college campuses.  Some even use the term "Black Hawk parents" for parents who take their hovering to an extreme -- writing their children's college admission essays or calling their children's workplaces after graduation to help negotiate salaries and promotions for their grown kids.

The term may be new, but the phenomenon is not.  This Sunday we're going to meet Salome, the ultimate "helicopter mom."  In Matthew 20, she wanted Jesus to grant special privileges for her sons, James and John, in the new kingdom.  In reply, Jesus highlighted three things that we need to accept and pass on to our kids.  First, don't focus on the crown; focus on the cross.  Second, don't focus on self-advancement; focus on meeting needs.  And, third, don't imitate the world; mimic the Master.

That Channelview middle-school principle said, "There's a little bit of Wanda Holloway in all of us."  Well, there's certainly a little bit of Salome in all of us.  Let's learn from Jesus how to pray for our kids.  See you at 9:30 or 10:45 this Sunday!

Weblog:  Check out my blog, "Get Anchored."  Some things to look for...

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