Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Free Ranging It...

After my last post, and as a parent in general, I've been reflecting quite a bit on what is "safe" or "okay". In our house the childproofing is fairly minimal--our bookshelves, tall and filled with heavy books, are not bolted to the walls (he's not really a climber) and the baby gate guarding the stairs is not attached with hardware. Part of my, seemingly, lackadaisical approach stems from the general truth that my guy is a relatively cautious kiddo--he is quick to reach out a hand to step off of the curb into the sandbox sand and is just now okay with "swinging fast".

We "try" to encourage reasonable risk taking and eagerly anticipate his first time rock climbing (he has to be four for much of it) experience. We want him to ride, run, swim and play fearlessly as he grows...but in order to have him do so, it feels like we need to set aside our own fears and anxieties. I really wrestle with how much hovering may be too much and how free range may be too excessive.

My wife used to play down at the creek by herself when she was in elementary school. I would spend hours in the pastures around our home when I was little, climbing trees and imagining adventures. I would ride the horses along the road side and pedal my way up and down our dirt drive.

I'm not certain how much of the kind of freedom to play and explore which I took for granted as a child I would allow for my own child. Largely because, God forbid, if something happened...

But what are the odds, really?

Check out this site Free Range Kids, worth reading and reflecting!