Skip to main content

Just minding the gap


Ok, "you do," but if you fall, you're explaining it to Mom.
One small step for Rand; one big step for independence.
"No, No, No.  Me," my son says as he tries to span a gap that seems impossibly large for his little, flip-flop clad feet.

"Alright, son, I'm just minding the gap."

As much as the refutation of my help hurt on some level, I loved his independence in this moment.  Of course there was a chance he would get hurt.  He was three feet up on a metal play set crossing a gap he probably had no business crossing.

To me, this was a prime position for him to lose balance, topple over and bang his head on the metal play set.  Probably multiple times.  Have I mentioned its metal?

He wobbled and my hand reflexively grasped at his shirt. Again the words came, this time with a swipe at my shirt-filled hand; the turn required for this rejection of Daddy unbalanced him more than anything he had done.

"No, No, No."

"Ok.  I'm just here for you if you fall."

Of course, if he fell, I'd have to trek back home to explain the fall to my wife.  "Yeah, yeah, hon, I was watching him closely.  Well, no, in hindsight it doesn't seem like a good idea to have let him do that, but at the time ..."

In the end, parenting isn't so much about protecting your kids as it is about letting them take calculated risks You could wrap your kid in bubble wrap and never let them leave a secured 8-by-8 room if that was the goal.  And you'd probably be 99% successful in safely raising your child to adulthood.  Whether that adulthood would be happy or not is another question.

No; parenting isn't about just getting your child to adulthood.  It's about raising a future adult.

Think about childhood as the minor leagues of adulthood.  Sure, you don't throw your best young pitcher into a major league game until he's developed enough pitches and enough experience to handle it; but that also doesn't mean you don't promote him to an appropriate league and let him get hit around a little.  The goal isn't to dominate A-class ball, its to eventually dominate the Major Leagues.

You might be 99% successful in safely raising your child in that bubble wrapped room.  But here is the thing: I'm likely to be 98% successful in safely raising my child, and I hope he'll be a lot better off for it.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Meditations

A couple months ago I posted about a push up challenge, and at the risk of pushing this blog into a self-help section, I'm going to post something else that I really enjoy that I think might help a reader or two (all two of you!).

Lifehacker.com currently runs what it calls "Mid-Week Meditations," which is a short story on some piece of ancient wisdom.  Oooohhhhhhh, its ancient.  Just so you know, I'm not one to fall for the whole "ancient" is best meme.

But this is legit good stuff.  They take a quote or concept from a philosopher in the past - think Marcus Aurelius - translate what the sometimes mumbo jumboish phrase means, and then kind of detail how you can apply it.

This week, its all about how to train your mind for constructive thinking.

One thing I love about the series is that it doesn't dress up the knowledge too much.  It doesn't make it out to be more than it is, or suggest that its great simply because some Greek guy said it 2,000 years …

The Dark Months

The holidays are over.  It only seems like life is over.

There is a solid three month period where holidays of various degrees are hitting you one-two-three style.  You have Halloween, which takes some of the sting out of the cooling temperatures and the disappearance of summer.  You have Thanksgiving, with rare foods and the promise of Christmas. 

Then you have a month of prepping and joy for Christmas.  You are so busy, you hardly notice how cold it has gotten.  And this year it got pretty darn cold.  And then Christmas itself.  My wife and I take a week off between Christmas and New Years, so we have that. 

Its a period so full of life.  And then the aforementioned NYE - when the cold decided to take it up a notch.

With triplets, its a little like being shot out of a cannon and taking three months to land.

But when you land, you land firmly in what I call the Dark Months.

There are no more holidays.  Yes, I realize MLK and Presidents Day are in January and February, and yes, I know…

Stop Telling Kids They Are Perfect The Way They Are

Parenting is super tricky.

You do a thing you think is great - look, I've set very strict guidelines that will make my kid a super adult and prepare them for the world - and all you do is instill them with the thought that you never let them have fun and kept them from being able to adjust to the world as it is.
OTOH, you give them no rules and be their friend, and they long for you to have given them direction and guidance and pushed them so that they didn't end up with no skills and a habit of laying around on a couch all day.
It is really the ultimate no win situation in a game that feels incredibly important to win.  As a result, I'm hesitant to give hard and fast advice on how to parent a specific child.
But there is one piece thing I think we parents need to stop doing across the board: stop telling kids they are "perfect the way they are."  
This is also a tricky, mine filled field to traipse through, because honestly, self esteem requires that we like who…