Yesterday we set out for a bit of fun down at our local bike track and skate park. My babies are just getting better and better on their bikes. I'm very sure that Mr 4 is ready to have his training wheels off, but he is still resistant to the idea, and one thing I know about my boy is that there is no sense pushing him into things he is not ready for.
After we left the bike track and headed over to the skate park, Miss 2 ditched her bike and took to running down the ramps instead. My heart skipped several beats until I could convince her that running on the concrete was not a good idea, and maybe she could run on the grassy area adjacent instead? I love watching her run. I love to run and I'm pretty sure that she is going to be a very good runner. I get just a little bit excited daydreaming about the prospects of mornings or evenings spent at Little Atheletics in the future if they decide that's what they want.
Above was just after we'd had a little conversation about not running down the ramp that I was sitting on.
I saw a young dad bring his two young boys down to the skate park and he skated while they both skated and scooted around too. What an awesome way for boys to spend authentic quality time with Dad, while he also gets to do something that he loves. You could see by the way they were watching their daddy, they were in awe and wanted to be just like him.
I guess that father knows the feelings I was going through down there, how as a parent you just want to wrap them up in cotton wool and prevent them from any possible danger/risks, but in doing so we can create unnecessary fear in our children, we can stunt their emotional development, and can rob them from the joy of experiencing life to its fullest potential. The hobbies I have enjoyed most in life, snowboarding and surfing, probably weren't my mother's first choice in hobbies for her daughter, nor were motorbikes / BMX / skateboarding Hubby's mother's first choices for him. We did them anyway and loved it. I feel closest to God when I'm in His mountains with my snowboard strapped to my feet, or when I'm sitting outback on an offshore day with clean swell, waiting for another wave.
I don't want to burden my children with fear or anxiety and rob them from experiencing those moments for themselves.
I guess the only way is treading that ever-fine line - giving our children the knowledge they need but then trusting them to know their own abilities and make their own choices (within reason). I do believe that if we control every situation, then when our children eventually go out into the big world alone, they haven't got the tools, resources or experience necessary to make sound decisions. Giving them a little bit of autonomy when they are young and gradually increasing it, helps prepare them for that big world out there.
I pray that I will always be able to gently guide them where I can, give them a helping hand when they need it, and of course, make them blueberry muffins afterwards..