August 15, 2011

Why is running a bad thing????

We are lucky enough that our local zoo offers classes for kiddos Jameson's age a couple Saturdays a month. Jameson loves them. Most of their class consists of walking around the zoo looking at different animals and learning around a certain theme of the week. This week in class, Jameson was wanting to run a lot. Personally, I didn't mind. He was in a wide open space, he wasn't running that fast, and he was OUTSIDE. I had absolutely no problem with him running. But, one of the teachers told him to stop. That was totally fine. I figured she probably had good reason. (He might get the other kids wound up or get ahead of the group, etc). No biggie. A little while later, Jameson (being Jameson) started running again. As we were telling him to stop, he fell down. I ran over to him, picked him up, and dusted off his knees. I don't think he was even on his feet yet before he had stopped crying. Right before he fell, one of the little girls in the group started running. While I am helping him up, I hear the teacher say "See, Jameson fell. That is why we don't run". Do I care that she told Jameson to stop running? Absolutely not. There are many good reasons for why this was not a particularly appropriate place to run (even if I didn't think it was a big deal). But when I heard her say that we don't run because we might fall, it got me thinking... (watch out- getting deep)

Why is "you might fall" a good reason to not run? Aren't these just the kind of situations we are supposed to encourage our children to get in to, not warn them against? Situations where they are going to have to take a little risk to have the experience? Don't get me wrong- I hate hate HATE to see my kids get hurt. Even a skinned knee and my heart breaks. In fact, I have to make a conscious effort at times to not be overprotective. But should I never let my kids run because they might fall? Sure, I could carry my kids everywhere, never taking the "risk" to run like a little kid should. They may never get an owie on their knee that requires a racecar bandaid. But is that really what I want to teach my child? That we shouldn't take on a new experience because there is a chance it might not go well? No! I want my kids to come upon a situation and take on a little risk for a big reward, even if it is scary. Yes, I want my children to learn that not every risk is worth it (for example, I want my children to be able to distinguish the difference between the worthwhile risk of running at the zoo and the dangerous risk of running into the road). But I also want them to know that they can run, even if it means they might fall. Especially when mom is going to be there to dust them off and help them start running again :)

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