Monday, January 20, 2014

Saying Yes

When I was about five or six years old, we were at a family camp in the Sierras and on a nature hike with a group of families. We came across a pile of gravel and, as if by instinct, all of the kids ran to climb on it. As if by opposing instinct, nearly every parent called their kid away and the group continued down the trail. My brother, sister, and I were the only ones left on the pile and my mom stood nearby, watching. I climbed off and went to her, asking, "why didn't you tell us to get down?" She said simply, "it looked like fun."

Today, we saw a pile of wood chips in the park when we went to play. I hesitated, respectful that they had some purpose, but when the girls asked if they could ride their bikes off of them, I acquiesced, remembering my own experience and observing that no harm was being done. (Clearly they were intended to be spread over the park anyway.) I saw other parents and grandparents tel their kids to get off and wondered if I was doing the right thing. Teaching responsibility and respect is important to me, but grounding it in authenticity is also important, as otherwise it is really thinly disguised random authoritarianism.

In the end, they had fun and I loved watching them.Saying yes to having fun is truly marvelous and worth being intentional about.

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