Whenever I bring my kids to the park there is almost always another family with kids there. And, inevitably, there is a not-so-gentle “reminder” to not go up the slide.
“Stay on your bottom, Sweetie!”
“Slides are for going DOWN!”
“Get off of there! You’re going to fall!”
I’m often given dirty looks and even asked why I don’t tell my children to stop climbing up the slide. Because they are playing and aren’t hurting anyone. Of course they already know the rule; those going down take precedent & you always get out of their way. Other than that, I honestly see no harm in it.
Yesterday at the park a woman was desperately trying to keep the young tot with her from going up the slide. But the kid kept going back and trying it again, and again. Exasperated the woman gave up.
“When you fall off maybe then you’ll learn not to do that again!”
Of course I don’t believe she really wished for the kid to fall (nor would she have let him), but it was clear that she did wish for him to learn it was “dangerous” and to hopefully not do it. This is where I shake my head a little. I don’t wish my kids to learn how bad something is and to then avoid it. I want them to learn from it. If my kid falls off a slide, I want him to yes, learn the dangers of it, but I also want him to come up with a new strategy and figure out how do it without falling. I want him to grow. I want him to learn.
Imagine if every time we failed we just stopped trying. My first marathon was a failure. So was my second. And, devastatingly, my third. But I didn’t quit. Yes, it was a struggle, an “up hill battle” if you will, but I learned something new about the distance after every cycle of training and every race. I compounded this knowledge until I started getting it right. If my kid had quit the first time he didn’t make it up the slide, he would have never experienced the satisfaction of having made it to the top once he was big enough, strong enough, and experienced enough to do it. If I had quit after my first race, I would have never known the joy of smashing my goal.
Sometimes we fall. Sometimes we get hurt. Sometimes we fail. But these can be good things. We can learn from how something doesn’t work, making us that much more efficient the next time around. I will do great things in the marathon because I just keep trying. I keep climbing. I keep on running.
I don’t ever want my kids to stop climbing up the slide. I want them to keep climbing up, up, and up because I love the confidence, the satisfaction, and the joy on their faces when they make it to the top, turn around, and smile back down at me.