Thursday, February 14, 2013
Children should be brave and strong
I had never done much thinking about if Blanche would think that she was brave or strong. Until today. And then I decided that she would.
There's a creek that runs through Siloam and through the park across the street from our house. We play there almost any day that it is warm. Andrew has taken Blanche into the creek while in her ergo (carrier) even when she was just months old.
Along a steep part of the hill, there is now a path where children walk down to feed the ducks. From the park you can't really see if anyone one is down there, but as you get closer to the bridge you can clearly see. Blanche and I had climbed down there, and I was holding her as we watched the ducks. A little girl came to the bridge and after seeing us, yelled back to her daddy, "I want to go down there." Her dad was on the other side of the hill and couldn't see that we were down there. He replied, "Nope, there's snakes down there."
Then when he rounded the corner he saw us down there. The little girl exclaimed, "But they are down there!" You could hear in her father's sigh he had kind of been caught. Now, maybe was being honest, because Andrew and I have seen a huge snake in the water before. But most of the time, there's mostly ducks and fish. He answered, "well, maybe there isn't now, but sometimes there are." Then they started to bicker, and I felt awkward so I told Blanche we should swing. As I was hiking back up the hill I heard the little girl say, "Leave me alone, I am brave and strong! I know I am. I can do it." Then she said she was going with her friends and started yelling, "Friends, friends!!" (I don't know if she had any friends there). Then her dad said, "Well, I'm your father and its my job to watch out for you."
Then she ran off towards the swings. Now, to this point I really believed (and still do a little) that the father had good intentions. But something in his voice also made me feel like maybe he just didn't want to mess with it. Mess with climbing down there. Mess with letting her be brave and strong. Then, later Blanche went running back to the creek, and as I picked her up he said, "Well see, now your in trouble you've given her a taste of it."
This is when I start to judge him more. Now, like I said, I think he had good intentions for the most part. But to me, why is it a bad thing that I've given Blanche the taste of adventure? I could see I was probably at least fifteen years younger than this man, maybe he was just tired. I have days where I am really tired too. And I don't want Blanche going on adventures. I want her to watch a dvd. But then there are days like today, which I begin to hope are most days, where she gets to run wild and free. Where we go down to the water instead of standing on the sidewalk. Where Blanche thinks she is brave and strong.
I hope that the little girl at the park still holds on to the fact that she is brave and strong. And I hope that her daddy carriers her down to the creek next time. Because one day he will probably have wished he had. And I'm not meaning to give this guy a hard time, because most of the time when we start to judge, maybe its seeing parts of ourselves in other people. Its easier to tell other people how they should parent. Instead of telling ourselves. For now though, I want to help Blanche learn about the world around her. I want to take the extra time to show her how she can be brave and strong. I want to let her wander. I keep thinking this week about the phrase I've read, "let the children play."