I wrote the New Years wish below four years ago, and I still find it relevant to my thinking about the world I wish for our children. It pairs nicely with thinking and writing I am currently doing regarding resilience–a hot word these days in education circles. Most of that conversation strikes me as increasingly off-track in that we act as if we need to teach kids resilience when I believe our energy would be better spent helping kids to maintain the resilience they are born with. Having seen children time and again face the most dramatic kinds of adversity they will ever face with strength and resolve, I worry that a too hovering approach to young people risks eroding the strength that is naturally placed within them. By our hovering, we can inhibit their growth. I say that knowing full well as a parent our responsibility to keep them safe, to protect them from a world that can be dangerous.
I have no perfect answer here, but I believe we must strive as the adults in lives of children to strike the right balance between providing guidance and freedom for our kids. I have a feeling I will write more about this soon, but for now I will repost “A New Years Wish: Let Kids Wander.”
When there was time in the summer, and there was always time, I would ride my slick rear tired red Schwinn dirt bike down Malvern, across Cary Street and into Windsor Farms, and when I would get to the remnants of the Civil War trench works, I would gather as much speed as possible so that I might catch a bit of air off the top. Cutting back over to Grove Avenue by Mary Munford School, I would turn toward points West and the swimming pool and tennis courts a couple of miles up the road that offered all the advantages of summer day camp without any of the liabilities, such as close supervision. Later I would start for home, perhaps stopping for an hour or two on St. Andrews, North Wilton, or Oak Lanes where friends were ready to throw the football, play H-O-R-S-E, or squinting, aim pump-action BB…
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