This post is part of The Write On Project
The kids were going bat-shit crazy. Evasive action had to be taken. The fate and collective sanity of our nation of four was at stake. The tipping point was upon us and if utter chaos was to be avoided some tough choices would have to be made. Without a grand distraction we could have a full blown mutiny on our hands. The walls squeezed in and it was clear there was only one solution – we needed to get the hell outside.
But it was raining. Hard.
We can’t take the kids out in the rain. That just doesn’t seem like a good idea. They could get sick. What shoes would they wear? Can we all fit under the umbrella? What about the wind? Where’s Lemon’s blue windbreaker thingee? Did Bug just sniffle?
I mean, they could get wet out there.
It was then that the sage wisdom of my wife averted what could have been an historical descent into anarchy, complete with lots of pouting and screaming, some of which the kids would have even been responsible for. She quietly looked out the window and said “so?”
But…. we’re their parents. We’re supposed to be responsible or something. We’re supposed to be making good choices. That doesn’t seem like a good choice. Seriously, they’re going to get wet. Like, really, really wet. All over.
They’ll dry. It isn’t too cold. They’ve got rain boots. We won’t be gone long. It’s just rain. They’ll have fun. We live in Florida, for chrissakes – it’s just rain.
Huh. So, indeed.
I like to think of myself as a pretty laid back person. And, for the most part, I probably am, but it’s funny how so often there is a disparity between how we would like to be and how we honestly are. I would like to think that I wouldn’t worry about things, that I would lead the charge into the rain. I would like to think that I would get all Fred Astaire-y with a seamlessly choreographed number through the puddles inspiring boundless joy in my children and a Beatlemania-esque rabidity among the neighborhood throngs. I would like to think that I am just carefree, but that wouldn’t be the truth.
I do worry about stuff – just as we all do. I make things into a big friggin’ deal when that just isn’t necessary. And, as much as I hate to say it, I have avoided doing certain things with my girls because it might have been a hassle or challenging or messy or “not a good choice”, like my initial reaction to a walk in the rain.
I would like to be carefree and adventurous because I would like to pass that perspective on to my girls. Instead of speaking of freedom that day, though, my hesitations and self-limiting actions communicated fear, really, misplaced as it may have been. But the girls didn’t know it was unfounded, all they saw was their father being dictated to by circumstance and consequence. The fact that I hesitated at all made any wariness of that situation valid to them and suddenly avoidance becomes a suitable strategy for dealing with things. They see me guided by fear and fear becomes a legitimate guide. That is not good.
What’s worse – taking them out in the rain or teaching them to be fearful and hesitant?
We did get wet. All over. And it was just fine.
I love little lessons like these. I love the growth that is possible with just a little honest perspective. There are certainly things that we need to protect our kids from or teach them to be cautious of. That is part of our job as parents. More important than what we teach them to avoid, though, as I learned on that soggy day, is what we teach them to embrace. Life is about experiences. Life is not about waiting for conditions to be ideal because they never will. Life is about getting out into the rain. So what if you get a little wet.