Saturday, 1 June 2013

You've Been Framed and Why I'm Not Banning Scooters

It's been an interesting couple of days in our household. Yesterday morning I dispatched the two biggest boys off to the skate park with their scooters and prepared to join them with Jonah later on. I arrived to find a wailing Max, blood pouring out of his finger and an anxious big brother. To cut a very long story short (which I know you will appreciate), he had a very mangled finger which required surgery. Last night, I watched my boy falling asleep in record time (could do with that at bedtime most nights) and then left him in the hands of the surgeons. It was a long, exhausting day of trying to keep calm when everything in me wanted to scream, cry, cuddle him and tell him off for being so silly all at the same time.

Later on, I discovered the reason for the accident. When Max told me the story, he helpfully omitted the part in which they had decided to practice stunts to send in to You've Been Framed. Apparently Toby had his camera with him and they were about to film, when the inevitable happened. Words fail me, they really do. (And this will come as a surprise to you, I'm sure.) Perhaps one day we'll be able to laugh about it, but not today.

And so, it led me to thinking about our adventure-fuelled lifestyle and the 'risks' we allow our boys to take. With the hours of waiting and wittering (from Max) in the hospital, I had plenty of time to question myself. Have we made mistakes? (Plenty) Is it right to let them climb so high up in trees that the branches sway? Should I have let them go to the skate park without me yesterday? Should we sell the scooters and the trampoline? Is it time to rein in the risks and wrap them up a bit more?

I thought long and hard yesterday. When I held in my tears whilst locking eyes with Max while he was being put to sleep, I wondered if we had just let things go too far. How could I let this happen to my boy? Surely my job is to protect him and shelter him.

But then I realised that, for our family, adventure is what we do. Although I am hoping this accident might have just instilled a healthy fear in Max (he has previously had absolutely none), I am resolutely not going to sell the scooters. My job isn't just to protect them, it's to bring out the best in them. My role is to promote courage when life is scary and to be their encourager from the sidelines. I can't hold them back and suffocate them in cotton wool just because I don't want to see them hurt. I have to teach them how to deal with that pain; whether it is a mangled little finger, a broken foot or a broken heart. It wouldn't be fair of me to send them out into the big, wide world without preparing them for this and although it is one of the most difficult things for a mum to watch, it is my job. I need to equip them to know what to do when things go wrong (and yesterday, Toby did exactly the right thing and for that, I was extremely proud of him). I have to cheer them on and shout 'yes!' when everyone else is shouting 'no!'. I am not going to give up in my quest for courageous young men, and it starts with scooters, trampolines and trees.

And so, You've Been Framed filming or not, the scooters will not be banned. The skate park, the bike rides, the trampoline stunts, the tall trees and the murky ponds will still be regular haunts for our family while we teach and train our boys for life. It's a risk I'm prepared to take.

No comments: