Let Them Fly

July 20 , 2019 . By Tsion Fisseha

The year was 2009. Michael Jackson had just died, and “This Is It”, the documentary film, was out. It was all the rage in the school that I went to. All week long everyone who was anyone was planning not only to watch it but contemplating how many times they were going to watch it.

I was not the exception to the rule, I was the rule. Regardless of the little I knew of Michael, and how many times I rambled through his songs, I was excited to watch the movie that glorified the music legend.

However, when I got home, all that excitement changed into fear. Fear of asking my dad if I was even allowed to go to the cinema. Despite my impeccable skills in argumentative logic, I always stumbled on my own words when it came to asking my dad for permission to leave the premises of my home.

And surely enough, my fear turned into reality. My dad, with no hesitation, said that I wasn’t allowed to go out, since it was a school week, which is a lesser-known version of a school night.

This incident pretty much summed up my growing up experience. As a child and teenager, even as an adult, I was protected from the outside world. I was left to wonder what it was like to hang out.

I recently attended the high school graduation of my cousin. After the festivity was over, the celebration took a rather dim turn when students started asking for their parent’s permission to go out. The parents hesitated to give an answer immediately. Some of them gave the green light. Others said yes with caution. Still, others gave the red light.

The art of letting go is so delicate and drawn with different invisible lines that are not meant to be crossed by both parties involved.

Overprotection, ironically, seems to have quite an opposite effect on the receiving end. With the illusion of protecting one’s child, the parent blinds their children from the reality of the world.

This child in turn, while trying to navigate this unknown territory that it has been shielded from, falls and breaks in places that he or she should have known not to step into.

Children, as delicate as they are, are not meant to be protected entirely. They, in the beginning, might have been held to cross the street, but once they realise how to get to the other side, they should be able to roam around the map of life on their own.

Of course, parents’ fears are justified. The world has never been a walk in the park. Horror stories are heard left and right. In the eyes of the guardian, a child is always a child. This ideology, however, hinders the growth of any teenager in transitioning into well-equipped adults.

Denis Waitley once said, “Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is a delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing and being nothing.”

Failures and mistakes are what build the characters of any growing human being. Through unsuccessful trials, one learns how to become successful. These mistakes are made when there is little to no guidance from people who brought them into this earth.

Rules and regulations to shape a child is an absolute must. Curfews and limitation of curse words aid in raising a disciplined and well-cultured citizen. However, the way these things are interpreted should be thought-out well enough to incorporate a growing and learning space for the children. For the empty canvassed child might be able to soak up information in a heartbeat, but if not allowed to draw on their own, it will just be a replica of past generations.

PUBLISHED ON Jul 20,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 1003]

Tsion Fisseha is a writer and head of foreign languages in the news department at a local TV station. She has been a part of a pan African poetry slam competition representing Ethiopia and is a member of a rock band entitled the Green Manalishi. She can be reached at tsion.f.terefe@gmail.com.

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