Friday, October 1, 2010

No Fear

I've been thinking more and more about the differences in children and how unique they all are. My firstborn is fearless. He was obviously born this way, but I think we've parented him in a way to encourage it too. We were at an awesome Apple Orchard yesterday with our moms group and they had several fun activities for the kids- a huge jumping pillow, a slide and a huge corn pool. My son certainly didn't need any encouragement going down the huge slide on his own. I wasn't even at the top with him when he did! He just spread out his burlap sack and away he went, with the wind in his curls. There were several kids who were very apprehensive and took some persuading (or refused altogether).
Forgot my camera. Thankfully a few other moms took some for me. Check out my sister's blog for more cute orchard pics.

The jumping pillow (like a giant blob, buried half way underground):
Bennett laughed with delight when we were home and getting ready for a bath and we found a rogue corn kernel in his underwear :)

We could have done this all day (if there was a ski lift to take us back up the hill):

I've been thankful for this aspect of his personality lately, now that he's a little older and not so prone to wander. In particular at preschool; there certainly aren't any tears or clinginess at drop-off. I don't even get a good-bye. He runs in, finds his name and joins the group of three-year olds on their carpet squares around the teacher's feet without a glance back. It makes me grateful for that when I hear the same little boy crying (loudly) every time his mom drops him off, or even more heart-breaking, the little blond girl, whimpering to her mommy, "I don't want to be at preschool today."
But his fearlessness definitely has its disadvantages as well. I remember when he was about 22 months old, we were with a group of moms playing at a playground in our old neighborhood. Bennett found the one and only mud puddle around and sunk in it up to his little ankles. A mom, who's son was about 10 months older than Bennett, said, "Carter has never done that! He would be too scared to wander that far from me to get into that kind of mess!"
And oh, the wandering. Last summer, when he was two, was spent chasing him down every time we were in an open area. Of course he wouldn't just come back to his momma when called (or threatened). So I would have to chase after him. And it can be especially bad at church. Jon and I are usually both involved with setup and tear-down at church (or just generally distracted talking to people with absolutely no clue what shenanigans our child is getting into). Of course Bennett follows the big kids outside (or just wanders out there alone)...or into the bathroom, where he's not nearly old enough to make responsible choices. I can't tell you how many times an older child has come up to me at church, telling me "Bennett's playing in the toilet" (or the worst time..."Bennett stuck his head in the toilet!").
I love our brave boy, though. I'd much rather be trying to reign him in sometimes, than always pushing him out of the nest, telling him he could fly if he just tried. I'm grateful he inherited this part of my personality and thankful my parents encouraged it in me, as well. I'm sure my mom was cringing when she'd see me follow my brother to the tops of trees when I was still so tiny. I remember the cheers I got after I water-skied around Lake Geneva when I was only seven- because I wasn't afraid to try. And the laughs from my brother and his friend when they convinced me to go first jumping off the roof of our garage onto our trampoline.
I know there will be many injuries in our future and I'm sure I'll be fighting the urge to yell, "get down! That's too dangerous!" or "Stop that! You might get hurt". But hopefully in the moment I'll remember one of my dad's favorite sayings, "risks are for kids!" and encourage his inner Evil Kenevil. I can't wait for all the adventures he'll have. And I'm quite certain that his little brother will be right be his side.


  1. I still remember how muddy he got that day at the park. He is all boy! And trust me, we have had many conversations at our children's ministry meetings about your sweet boy and his wanderings. If we ever get an after-church "daycare" organized, it will be because of him :) I laughed so hard that day when one of the girls came in and said that he had just given himself a swirly!

    Between you (jumping off a garage?!?!?!) and Jon, I think it was inevitable, if not inherited :) He really is such a great kid and I think you are right about it being better to have to reign him in than push him out.

  2. I totally know what you mean and my son is only 18months. I think it is so fun to watch them wander around and sometimes learn things the hard way. And good for you for not being an over-protective mom and stopping him from trying things....sometimes I think those moms end up instilling(sp?) fear in their children instead of helping them.

  3. I love when kiddos just explore and have fun...Ethan isn't nearly as adventurous as Bennett (like jumping off of things) but he sure loves to run, and yes...he's bad about disappearing too!


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