Despite the fact that warmer weather is supposed to be right on our doorstep, according to several recent articles snow plows will continue to be out in full force throughout the country.
“Snow plow” parents, that is.
Whereas in recent years much has been written and said about “helicopter parents” - ones who “hover” over their children’s lives, taking overprotective or excessive interest in them, attention has now turned to “snow plow” parents - ones who insist on clearing any potential obstacles out of their kids’ way.
That moniker has been used repeatedly in the aftermath of the college admissions scandal that lead to the arrest of several wealthy and celebrity parents recently. Those parents are alleged to have participated in bribery and the falsification of admission applications for the purpose of insuring their children’s entrance to high profile colleges they might not have had the credentials for. In the end though, the result will be revoked admissions for those children and fines and/or prison time for the parents.
What though, if those parents had not been found out and arrested?
While the end result would have been far different on the surface, there still would have been enormous harm done. There would, of course, have been the harm done to those deserving students who did not get admitted to those colleges because their place was fraudulently taken. But there would also have been great harm done to the students who were admitted due to that fraud, as there were two, among several, troubling unspoken messages in what took place. Without words, they were being told:
*They aren’t smart, strong or resilient enough to handle or grow from setback, disappointment or failure;
*Their value to others and the world is dependent on the status that comes with being admitted to elite schools, wealth, position, and prestige.
Of course, “snow plowing” is not exclusive to those with wealth and celebrity, nor even to parents. It is something all of us are capable of participating in. Which is why one of the greatest blessings of the Christian spiritual path is that God is not a “snow plow” parent and Jesus is not a “snow plow” brother. Instead, Jesus made it crystal clear to his closest followers that living the way he called them to meant times of struggle and suffering. He also made it clear that his place in their lives wasn’t to remove the obstacles from their paths but, as the embodiment of God’s essence, to lead, guide, comfort and stay at their side as they navigated them.
Jesus tells the disciples both before and after the Resurrection that he won’t - can’t - stay with them if they are to ever become the spiritually wise, strong and resilient people God created them to be. And he also made it clear that their value to others and the world, then and after he was gone, would always be dependent on their commitment to serving God’s interests of compassion, mercy, justice, forgiveness and love.
As it was for them, it is for us.
May we be inspired and emboldened this Easter season to put those snow plows away for good.