Speaking of John…And this is the kind of thing I can only share on the blog as long as the boys don’t read it… A while back he was walking home with his younger brother and our neighbor. And a friend asked him to take a slightly different route so they could walk together a few more blocks. John did. Which meant that he didn’t cross the difficult intersection with the other two like he’s supposed to. They’re supposed to stick together at least until that point and then still remain within sight even if the younger two trail a bit behind in deep discussion, which is usually how I find them a few minutes later when they show up in the yard.
Anyway, he was scolded, as you can imagine. The older two are both at an age – and have been for a few years – where we have to keep instilling that they don’t get to make very many decisions all on their own – not when to have snacks or how many cookies after supper or whether or not to veer from the normal path with a friend. So we reminded him. But then I went to his journal and wrote the truth. Because deep down, I felt happy for him.
At 34 years old, I still notice almost every time I make a decision that a child wouldn’t be allowed to make for himself. And I feel grateful and free and empowered. So when John came home having made one of those decisions – albeit before he was allowed – I wrote it down. And how I hoped he got that feeling of freedom. And how it bummed me out to have to scold him.
I just watched a film that made me take notes. It had some great lines. And I’m not exactly recommending the movie, and I want you to remember that if you ever watch it, but I have to give credit where credit is due. This beautiful thought about children is from The Answer Man with Jeff Daniels as a guy who talks to God and Lorelai Gilmore (or, you know, the actress who plays Lorelai on tv) as a single mom. And it reminded me how I feel when my kids are toddlers, just waking up to the world, and they’re constantly being strapped into vehicles with no earthly idea where they’re going, offered food they didn’t ask for, and told no about everything in the house that stirs their curiosity. The line came at some point before the line in which the man who talks to God points out that children see us shaking hands but don’t realize we’re squeezing when we do so that when they shake our hands they actually only hold it for a couple seconds and then let go. That same guy observed this:
I love kids. They’re short, highly emotional people who don’t know anything. They have to rely on their creativity and imagination to get by in the world. A world, I might add, filled with giants. Amazing feat.
It just makes me want to hug one and let them know that sometimes the giants notice them and their very amazing feat.