Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tuesday's Tip

I am mixing my Tuesday's Tip with a real incident occurring in my family this past week. Josiah fell off a picnic table at a park, and landed -face first- below on the asphalt. Ouch! The left side of his face has several abrasions, his eye is swollen, and will undoubtably shift through several stages of coloring before the whole mess is healed. In short, he was badly hurt.

I was not there.

I send the kids on a walk each morning around our cul-de-sac, and this particular morning Bethany asked if she could take Josiah, Leah, Mary and Caleb across the street to the playground. I thought it a fine idea, and sent them on their way with my blessing. The kids know my rules about being outside of our street - even inside out street. They may not talk with strangers (we took the time to introduce them to everyone on our street), never go into someone's car or house, and if there are people milling around by where they are playing they must leave. Other than that, Hannah and Bethany are allowed free-range of our neighborhood so long as they can hear my train whistle calling them home. Caleb has to ask before he leaves our street, but he is usually granted permission when the mood strikes him for adventure. The littler ones can be out in the front with an older sister for supervision. Such was the circumstance surrounding Josiah's fall.

However, even when Josiah was brought back to the house, oozing from his entire cheek, the thought never came to me that I should be more stringent in my supervision requirements. Why not? Two things:
-Childhood is a messy adventure at times
-God really does watch over all of us

Josiah could have gotten the exact same injury if I had been at the park. He didn't even need to be at the park to get it! Our own home is full of potential wound-causing items, such as floors and walls. I can't watch every child for every second of the day. I don't think I should. I don't think it is my job to smooth every road, monitor every corner, assess every situation, circumstance, trial, inconvenience, struggle, or decision to determine whether my child can succeed at it, or not. I think my job is to regulate, with wisdom and love, those events he is exposed to so that I minimize lasting harm as much as possible, but not eliminate potential discomfort for it's own sake. The reality of serious harm in comparison with the fearfulness we instill in our children when our boundaries are too tight is out of proportion.

I would rather a few extra scrapes with independence than a perfect exterior, and a brain as fragile as an egg. So today's Tuesday Tip is:

Back Off.


  1. Poor thing- it looked like it really hurt! I hope he got a REALLY good treat out of it all! :) And I'll see you on the 6th for study.

  2. Dorothy P.7:25 AM

    Agreed! Paul's younger brother took a flying leap from his bunkbed, so stuff can happen at home, too. I saw pavement from many angles during my bike-riding days. Independence can be painful; some times more than others.
    Hope Josiah is feeling better soon!