Preparing the Child vs. Preparing the Road

Early in our parenting journey my wife and I heard an anonymous statement that has stuck with us and guided our approach to parenting. “It is better to prepare the child for the road than to prepare the road for the child.” This simple saying contains a wealth of wisdom and really sums up the divide in parenting today. On one side parents feel that they have to do for and provide every advantage for their children in order to ensure their “success.” On the other side, parents strive to teach personal responsibility and allow their children to learn from their mistakes (and the natural consequences of those mistakes.)


There is a major difference between empowering our children to succeed and enabling them. One develops self-discipline, initiative and confidence. The other produces immaturity and dependency. Kathy Caprino refers to 7 damaging parenting behaviors that keep children from becoming leaders by Dr. Tim Elmore;


  • We don’t let our children experience risk
  • We rescue too quickly
  • We rave to easily
  • We let guilt get in the way of leading well
  • We don’t’ share our past mistakes
  • We mistake intelligence, giftedness and influence for maturity
  • We don’t practice what we preach


Take a moment to evaluate your parenting approach. In light of the seven statements above, look at your interactions with your child, his/her teacher or coach. Are you preparing your child or the road?


Children's Minister

Eric Alfrey

Children’s Minister

First Baptist Church
First Baptist Church