Somerville, Massachusetts – In the wake of the events of last week, I really appreciated Glennon Melton’s recent post on Momastery. In How to Keep Our Babies Safe, she argues that every parent faces an impossible challenge, in that we want to keep our children safe all the time, yet we are unable to keep our children safe all the time. Indeed, she argues, too much shelter denies a child opportunities to learn and love. In short (paraphrasing a scene from Finding Nemo):
“As badly as we want to, we can’t let nothing ever happen to our babies. Because then nothing will ever happen to our babies.”
I have to admit that I found her re-definition of the word safe to be confusing. (“A safe life includes following your dreams with the full knowledge that doing so is not… safe in the traditional meaning of the word.”) But her point is super important.
“If no pain, then no love. If no darkness, no light. If no risk, then no reward.”
We can’t protect our children from life; we must prepare them for life. Even more, we must prepare them to embrace life. But how?
Glennon asks and answers much bigger questions on her blog than I would ever dare. But I have an idea about this one: Travel with your children.
You don’t have to go far, you don’t even have to leave your home state. But venture somewhere new, exotic and maybe a little scary. Engage with foreign cultures and strange people. Step outside your comfort zone. Teach your children to step outside theirs.
It might be risky. You might get lost. Your children will get exposed to new germs. Somebody will definitely have a temper tantrum. But they (and you) will overcome fears and figure it out and make friends and learn and have a ball.
Graphic courtesy of Momastery.
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