I did the unspeakable yesterday and walked my kids up to the neighborhood park. Its pretty far on foot, farther than I realized, so I had plenty of time to think about stuff. Taylor came along with me riding her bike and Zi and Mars were in the double stroller. Now somehow since we came off of the mission field our family has expanded and I don't me in family members but in the size of each of our members, do you get my drift??? We work hard for God and come home and eat pasta late at night and don't have time to play outside and run around the yard and stuff. Anyway, we are working on that. So back to the walk. Taylor knows how to ride a bike, but our neighborhood is really hilly and she's not really confident. She will come to a hill and walk her bike down it slowly. I asked her why and she told me she's scared of losing control and a car coming around a corner and hitting her or something. My heart cringed. I flashed back to my own childhood when my sister and I would sneak off to ride our bike down the biggest hill in the neighborhood. It was so steep you had to walk your bike up and burn you brakes on the way down. We would wear ourselves out climbing up and streaking down with our long hair streaming wildly behind us. My mom hated it and would tell us of all the things that could go wrong and we didn't care. It was fun! Or how about jumping into the pool first thing in the morning, I mean as soon as you woke up and the water being so cold you just knew the only way you could get your body in there was to jump in. Run jump cannonball, ice cold water enveloping your whole being and it was breathtaking! What had I done to my child in raising her to think of all the contingencies? I want them to be smart and cautious but not afraid.
Jump ahead to the park that we finally arrived at and I'm brooding over this entire parenting dilemma and how I've ruined my child forever through my poor life coaching skills. But then I catch Emari pushing some kid out of her way on the slide and she's jumping off the dangerous parts of the equipment and screaming in delight and a big kid runs into and sends her sprawling in the dirt and she gets up, shakes the wood chips out of her hair and keeps going. I'm worried for an instant that she might get hurt or some parent will get upset with her and I realize that my heart has reached an equilibrium. Two children, same parents, same environment, different responses.
We are going to work on both of the extremes here in our house of course, but applying this concept to my own life I realize I need to find my own equilibrium. Considerate but not overly cautious to the point of not doing anything at all. I read somewhere recently that a clenched fist can hold onto what it has but not receive anything else. So simple but true.