5 Lessons on Courageous Parenting From the Wizard of Oz


She stomps into the house, tossing her bag across the floor with contempt. I lurch upward, nearly dropping my glass of water as she flops hard on the couch next to me.

“Another tough day, huh?” I ask, barely suppressing laughter over her outrageous theatrics.

“Need a snack?” I ask.

She grunts (I think it was supposed to be a “no”).

“Need an iPod?” I casually reply. And instantly she’s alive again. 

Why’d I do that? Was I bribing her into being nice? Was I teaching her to use stuff to feel better?

Nope. I was moving her attention out of the sulking and on to a more empowered place to face challenges that reduced my tall, beautiful, strong girl to a grunting pile of fear.

Because of her developmental delays, she’s really been struggling socially and it’s taking a toll on her confidence and courage to step out and try again and again with her peers. We’ve role-played, we’ve brainstormed, we’ve poured time and love and prayer in to her at home. We’ve worked with the teacher, and even talked to a couple of parents involved.

And now, it was time for the big guns. The shiny, pink iPod for which she’d saved money these past 6 months.

For a girl who’s first love language is gifts, this was the perfect token of hope. A sign the work she invests in life CAN accomplish something, and that no matter how things feel right now, life is still good.

In short, I became the Wizard of Oz for a moment to infuse fresh courage into my moaning, fearful lion (a fitting metaphor since her first reaction to anything is to roar!). Instead of a cross of valor, I’d pin on her chest the longed-for pink mp3 player.

That’s not the only way we’re like the Wizard as parents, though. The more I thought of it, and of this week’s theme of courage, the more the similarities jumped out at me:

  1. As parents, we feel we have to be brave and wise for our kids when inside we’re struggling as much as they are
  2. Nobody has it all together behind the curtain, but we still insist on feeling like crap around the “perfect” women and moms we know
  3. Balancing these can make us feel as isolated and grumpy as the movie’s Wizard did
  4. When we get isolated, we hurt others to keep up the act. We begin to live the old adage: Hurt people hurt people.
  5. Courage – and thus our dreams, relationships, and our own healing – begins when we come out from behind the curtain.

While sometimes it’s good to be the cunning Wizard to help our kids be courageous in their lives, it’s never good to live like him in our own. 

Are you living behind the curtain right now? Will you take the risk to step out and take hold of courageous, authentic living today? I promise you’ll find you’re not alone.

I’d love to hear how I can support you in that. Please share your responses here: comments.

Your friend in bold living,

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