What, Me Worry?
January 17, 2013 § 9 Comments
A couple of weeks ago, a friend came over to help the boys make pack baskets. They’d made small baskets before, of willow whips and birch bark, but never anything quite so ambitious as these, and I was skeptical that they could summon the attention to detail and simple patience necessary. I needn’t have worried.
Two days ago we slaughtered pigs, and the boys wanted to be the ones to do the killing. Each has shot literally 1,000’s of rounds from through their guns and I knew they possessed the familiarity and marksmanship necessary to do the job. Still, it seemed like a big step, and I was nervous. I needn’t have worried.
Often, the boys disappear for hours into the woods, or across the neighboring farm fields, to which they have been granted unfettered access by our most generous neighbors. Occasionally, I find myself surrendering to an irrational fear – that they might become lost, or stumble upon a pack of rabid wolves, or be crushed under a falling tree. But of course they always return home safely, less the occasional bramble scratch or bruised knee. In every case, of course, I needn’t have worried.
It is not that there is no risk in allowing children to explore their boundaries, whether those boundaries are literal, physical, or emotional. Of course there is. There always has been, and always will be.
But I strongly suspect that the far greater risk is in not allowing them to explore these boundaries in the first place.