Saturday, 20 September 2014
I observed such a fascinating thing today. And it summed up all three of my boys so precisely that I couldn't help but write about it.
We needed some fresh air today. We were craving the wild spaces. The boys needed to be able to shout and holler. They needed to make wolf cries and throw sticks. They needed to lift heavy logs and climb trees. Their bodies had to slip and slide down muddy hills, doing stunts and landing upside down. Sometimes there is nothing else that will do. So, despite the drizzle, we headed out to the nearby hills.
We found beauty in wet, glistening cobwebs. We laughed at knobbly bits on trees that looked rude. We threw sticks up into chestnut trees to make the conkers fall down. We stamped, rolled, lifted and climbed. Oh, how we needed the freedom.
And then we found this 'awesome' tree which was asking to be climbed.
With a leg up, all three boys managed to climb and explore. They breathed in the high up air, which is so much more liberating than the air on the ground. They pulled each other up and congratulated one another.
And then it was time to move on and get down.
Toby, the cautious risk taker, assessed the situation searching for the best way down. "What do you think, Dad? Is it about 2.5 metres?" he asked as he peered over the branches.
Max laughed and launched himself out from behind Toby. "What do you mean 2.5 metres? I'm just gonna jump!" he hollered as he landed and rolled across the wet leaves.
Meanwhile Jonah had found a 'throne' in the tree and sat quietly, watching his brother's responses and trying to gauge his own. "I'm not getting down." He declared. "I'm going to live here."
Eventually, after much huffing and puffing, Toby made it down the tree by holding on carefully and sliding down.
Jonah was the last climber left. "Dad! Will you catch me?" He found a safe place to jump from, but not onto the far away ground like his brother. He would only jump when he could see his Dad's arms were ready and strong enough to catch him. When he was satisfied, he leapt into the safety of his father's arms.
I have never witnessed such a truer representation of the way my boys approach risk-taking and it made me understand that we must teach them differently and treat them individually when we are faced with larger risks than an enormous tree.
It doesn't mean we must never take the risks, it means that our job as parents is to help them approach the adventure they were made for in the way that is best for them.