Okay, so let me be fair, we are NOT paranoid, but rather fond of our little gaffers
and not quite ready to let ’em fly solo in the midst of traffic
and mayhem and what may come,
and so we eeeeeease into Free Range Parenting with verve,
and yet with a ‘healthy’ dose of caution.
(If there is such a thing?)
How do we dedicated parents and mentoring-folk find this intricate balance? We may one day fully embrace the revolutionary release of our tender tots and allow them to roam, and trust that they will wander home safe and sound, but what do we DO before we are ready for all that?
For those just tuning in, yesterday’s post was on Free Range Babes and the documentation and links out there encouraging us to give a little license to ourselves and our children and let go in the name of greater good.
I got some fab feedback…Thank you! The consensus (not official, but my humble opinion) seems to be that we all WANT freedom for our children, the kind that doesn’t keep us chomping at our nails, the kind that resonates at our core with the solid ‘knowing’ that we are offering just what they need to discover courage and capability within themselves.
The Maki Family went exploring within and out in the world today,
discussing what free-range and freedom means to us.
Here are some fun and igniting-ideas to get you started on your way to Free-Ranging for your family. Some may resonate and some may well give way to ideas of your own. There is no right or wrong way to love our children into themselves, when it is done with integrity and a desire to authentically find ways not to control, but to gently guide and empower them to discover their innate virtues and test them in the world both with and without us.
Free Range Parenting Ideas 4 Parents Testing Their Own Wings 1st 🙂
- Free their minds by celebrating their ideas
Sounds simple enough, but how many times do our young ones come up with something we may deem ‘ordinary’ and brush them away in the name of busy or distracted or waiting-til-their-ideas-are deemed -worthy on a grander level? I know we sincerely hope, never. But I know it has happened in our house when the youngest will come up with a thought or idea that has been presented by our older one in years/days gone by. For Nathaniel, it is an essential ‘first’ and certainly worthy of just as much joy and ohh’s and ahh’s as Liam’s was.
Today, Nathaniel came rushing up to us “Look Mommy, Daddy, Liam, a Dandyflower! Let’s all make a wish and blow it to the wind so it comes true.” We didn’t think this was how we would explore Free Range, but it struck us… first step in living creatively is in Thinking Creatively. And right now this IS Nathaniel’s best foot forward in the name of bringing us together in love and fun. Yea Nate-Dog!
We stopped everything, looked intently at the Dandyflower he had found, cuddled in a circle all together, made our respective wishes and … blew. Nathaniel beamed. He comes up with ideas, the world listens and he creates an impact. I hope this sparks the fundamental beliefs behind creation on a million levels in the years to come.
- Let ‘Em Get a Little Reckless
Yep, let them test their limits in ways they would if you weren’t watching, the constant voice of ‘reason’ (aka worry). We must resist the urge to warn or they will begin to doubt themselves, and this is where the trouble begins doesn’t it? We want our children to trust themselves, to know when they are capable, when fear grips them and warns them to woe the horses. If you always warn them, catch them, what happens that one time when you aren’t there? We want them to get a little reckless, dangerous, and yes, even hurt themselves in the name of learning what NOT to do (hopefully with less-than-dire-reprocussions).
Yes, you will receive stares of wonder, shock and awe from other parents who are ‘concerned’ you’re not taking control of the situation. Yea you. You aren’t here to control are you? You are here to provide opportunity for your child to learn and grow and test and succeed and falter in the name of that learning and growth.
Here they are testing their abilities and testing the patience of the parents around us. We are so proud of them!
- Train ‘Em and Cut ‘Em Loose
This worked exceedingly well with Liam renovating the basement and helping Daddy build the sub-floor tonight. He was the nail-man and worked solo. The look of pride as he readied to work and then emerged from the basement, job completed…Priceless. Nathaniel, of his own accord was Snack-Man (very essential job for the workers to be fed on the job).
Didn’t work so well two summers ago when I gave the boys the gardening tools to work away in the back, while I tended in the front yard. The blood-curdling scream came and I bolted back to find that lil’ Nathaniel had been swinging the trowel with reckless abandon and it had found its way 1/2 inch into big bros’ arm. Opps. Would I have done it differently? Nope. Last week while working in the green house, Nathaniel and Liam came across a trowel. Liam looked as Nathaniel picked it up and backed slowly away, “Nathaniel do you remember what happened last time with that thing?” “Oh yea,” Nathaniel replied. “Don’t worry Liam I know what I’m doing now.”
Did they learn? You bet and with not even a scar to show for it.
- Wander Away With an Unbeknownst Watchful Eye…and When They Call for Help Resist the Urge to Run
We walked down and along the path and they rolled hills and climbed trees (Nathaniel for the first time on his own:). Yes, we could see them, and celebrated when they called out with a “Look at me!”, but we let them be.
In one moment, as we stood at the bottom of the hill, boys at the top, I heard, “Mom, my foot’s stuck.”
I didn’t move (although it took every ounce of my being to hold my legs back).
“Okay Liam, you can get it.”
“No Mom, I can’t.”
I see him struggling. I still don’t move, neither does dad. (Man are we good or crazy?)
“Just remember Liam, be calm. You’ll get it.”
We wait. Feels like hours as we pretend to continue chatting, acting like no big deal, we aren’t concerned (yea right, I know he could fall, so does dad, but we wait, hoping).
And then we hear IT…
“Mom, Dad, Look! I did it! I really did it.”
“Knew you could Liam. Great job bud.” (Translation…”Thought you could. Hoped you could. Thank God you did and thank God that I didn’t rescue you and take away a beautiful moment that taught you how very capable you are.)
I am not quite ready for solo subway rides, but I do want my children at every point and turn to have opportunity to explore and test the limits of their body, mind and spirit. I absolutely want them to learn that, while mom and dad will always be their wing-man n’ gal, their best go-to guide is the Guru within themselves (or in our world, the Divine-Inside:).
How do you find the balance between protecting and providing Free Range opportunity? How will you now?
I so look forward to hearing more of your Free Range stories.