March 11, 2012

We had a sledding mountain near our home when I was growing up.  If we had a clear cold day with snow on the ground,  we would bundle up and hike about a mile to a long steep slope.  At the bottom of the precipice was a raging stream that was so wide and ferocious it was never frozen over, regardless of how cruel and cold the winter.  Cattle would be swept away if they ventured into the tempest.  I am amazed my parents let us get so close to such a danger; we really felt adventurous.

Not long ago I revisited this desolate, dangerous place.  It was about three hundred yards from our back door.  There was an elevation change that might conceal a tall man, and at the bottom of the dip that was maybe 30 yards, there was a small trickling stream about three feet wide and six inches deep.  Nothing had changed, really.

Perspective changes as we age.   And with that change we can see the safety (or the danger) that our child may not.  But for them to mature we must let them see and experience things from their perspective not ours.   We need to help our kids face the adventures in life without all of the dangers.  We need to let them get close to the raging stream and stretch their own boundaries, yet stand close enough so they know that they can reach out a hand and immediately be safe.  We need to let them wander far and wide, to let them climb as high as they can, and still be home in time for lunch.

So take your child someplace really dangerous this week, like a park.  But stay nearby, just in case.


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