I will do anything for you, except for your report, your poster, your assignment, and a bunch of other things.
I am here for our children.
When I say “I’m here” I mean “I’m close by.”
They are going to jump off hay bales and playground equipment and newspaper stands and water-leaping cliffs themselves. I can show them how to do those things, even when I’m scared also. And then I can walk them through the process and explain the necessary steps to do it correctly. But at some point, they’ll need to do it. Themselves.
What they can count on from me is that I will…
…help assess the potential consequences and risk involved.
They can trust me that I am not going to have them do something with a high probability of lasting physical or emotional trauma.
…be willing to do it also.
…be patient as they make mistakes and stumble through the steps involved.
That’s why we start jumping from small objects like a wagon before progressing to bigger ones like a picnic table, rock overhang, or river cliff.
…push them, ideally in a constructive and positive manner and without shaming,
to take themselves to the edge of what they’re capable of;
to help imbue them with the confidence they need in order to tackle anything new and scary.
…that I will not do it for them.
But I will be there.
Here. Close by.
As we start a new (formal) school year, I think one of the greatest gifts we can give children we care about is the gift of patiently letting them stumble and make those jumps themselves.
Even when they stumble and get bloody knees and cry and need hugs and comfort and all that…
…it’s still part of the life’s learning process of stumbling or failing or making a big mistake, and realizing it’s helping you learn something, and you have a support system in place. I am refraining from quoting Nietzche here, and I know some of you are waiting for that one quote, but I’m not going to use it.
Sometimes what doesn’t kill us still hurts us horribly and harms us irreparably.
So yes, there are bad things that don't end in death, but that are terrible experiences. We shouldn’t create Spartan households where the greatest traits are strength, power, and the ability to dominate.
We should create and perpetuate households where the great foundational areas of importance are the following - and make no mistake, the building of these traits will create strong human beings. Strong, well-rounded, and always-learning human beings. Including ourselves.
Love and affection
woven into all relationships and interactions
for different challenges and struggles
to perpetually keep discovering and asking questions
to embark into areas, topics, and skills that that are unfamiliar
to recognize and empathize (also see #2) with different rates of progress and understanding.
to get up and keep going when things don’t go how you think they should.
That’s a beginning. I write these things down not because I’ve mastered them or always model them the best, but because I want to make them habit; for these to be embedded as part of our origin-and-growth story.
We think, we say, we write and record, we act and embed.
That is how we imprint what is important into our lives.
We learn through repeated failure…when coupled with the above. So be brave and don’t do your kids’ homework for them.