Nothing can measure up to the pure and unadulterated fun of children. Innocence, plus their wide-eyed approach to discovery and new adventures, bring about a rare perspective of the world that is only spoiled once muddled up by our grown-up rationality. There, I said it, because “we know better.”
The puzzled look on a child’s face says it all, when they hear for the first time an elder’s definitive “No!”. Regardless of context or end-result, this is one that surely dampens self-discovery, unless of course, he’s in front of an open window and the “no” will have to merit an explanation (and not a scolding or a spanking).
I have written of it before, a pediatrician-friend telling me: when trying to understand children, one needs to see the world through their eyes.
I’ve seen it so many times, raising a child to be fearless despite your own fears will, in the long run, build their confidence. During a recent island-cruise pitstop over the weekend, a dad wading patiently in the waters below while the mum at the boat slowly letting go of their two-year old to drop down the blue water within arm’s reach of him, mirrors this lesson big time. As their baby grows up and becomes less dependent of her parents, reassuring moments like these will be her armor.
Let them play. Let them explore the world around them. Just be there. For a time. The moment will eventually come when those once-ungainly steps will walk away, further away from you.
I remember a long time ago in Ibach, a friend and I noticed a baby crawling freely in the parlor (we nearly stepped on her). When we hurriedly informed the parents that their baby was “loose” in the sala and getting dirty, they just smiled and said let her explore, to that effect. It builds better her motor skills they had added.
Truth is, many of us (this oldie included) watch over our babies too much, to the extent that we unknowingly clip their confidence and knack for discovery. If our job as parents were to have a positIon in today’s terminology, it should surely fall under “support services”.
Without meaning to fault the old school from which our elders brought us up in, strong knees will only develop if they’re permitted to stand and walk unaided. So there, as Cat Stevens once sang, “Where do the children play?”