Scratches, Bruises and Scars
I looked down at my youngest son’s legs the other day, he’s four and a half. Small, little pistons proudly displaying scratches, bruises and scars. This little dude is the definition of adventure and mischief! He’s not naughty … just curious and full of normal energy … and I wouldn’t have him any other way!
It got me thinking about a subject that I am very passionate about - let kids be kids! Let them fall off things and graze a knee, let them climb a tree and break an arm, let them experience this world and cop the consequences. Because all those little lessons along the journey of childhood in fact help them graduate into adulthood. Why are we wrapping them up in cotton wool and laying them down on a softfall playground? Have you seen those ridiculous slides that aren’t actually slippery?
Of course I cringe when I find my son proudly standing on the top of the shed and of course he is told to get down immediately. But do you know what? If he fell and broke his arm - he would learn a valuable lesson - and he would also learn that he can get back up, dust himself off and move on with life. Life doesn’t care how many times you fall over, how many times you make a mistake, how many times you fail, all that matters is that you get back up, dust yourself off and move on. So if we don’t allow our children to fall, to make mistakes or to fail - how will they ever know that it's ok to do those things? How will they ever learn from their mistakes if they aren’t allowed to experience them first hand? And how will they be forgiving and compassionate about others when they make mistakes or fail at something? But most importantly how will they know that we can get back up again, we can regroup, we can learn and we can move on with experience and wisdom.
I guess it would be easier to plonk my son down in front of a screen for an afternoon - I would know where he was, I would know that he was safe and he would also be happy. But what would be the long term effects? What life lessons would I teaching him? That we are be entertained in safety, that we are to be so risk-averse we miss out on the childhood initiation milestones to adulthood? And besides all of that - after too long in front of a screen his energy is built to boiling point and I then need to deal with the fall out.
So when I look at Mstr 4’s legs with their scratches, bruises and scars, I know that he’s experiencing life by living it. He has adventure in his eyes and I can’t wait to see what he’ll get up to next!
In Helen Keller’s words ‘Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all’, amen Helen, amen.