Let’s get one thing clear. This is not a judgment piece. This is not a “I do it right, you do it wrong” article. This me talking about how I raise me kids. If you don’t agree, that’s fine. I still love you.
My mom raised 4 girls. Her favorite thing to say to me and my sister (we only have boys) is “Oh you girls would never do that!”
My sisters and I always laugh when we hear that. Of course we would never run full speed at a wall just to see what would happen. Nor would we ever spend half our day picking our noses. We were/are girls. In the true sense of being a girl. We had sit down play time and dolls hair to brush. (I know girls can do anything boys can do by the way. I have martial arts trophies to prove it) but in the 80’s and 90’s girls wore pink and played with dolls. Boys held sticks and ran.
But now a days it seems that more and more parents and schools are looking to have all kids sit and play “nicely”. And what I means by that is we see a lot of people discouraging risk. I don’t mean letting your kid jump off a building. But what’s the harm in them jumping off a low brick wall? Or climbing, dear god let your children climb!! I’m always amazed when I see someone taking a kid who should be able to explore away from a great physical challenge. And let me ask you this, where have all the monkey bars gone? So many playgrounds today are missing the more physically demanding equipment.
Anyway. The other day I took the Bears out to a great place called Drumlin Farm in Lincon MA. It’s awesome there. They have animals and trails and a cute little store. Even a farm stand in the summer. But my favorite thing is the layout. They did a great job leaving the farm area open. They left a lot of natural rocks in the area and even built in some amazing sensory structures. It’s one of those places where as soon as we get in, I’m ok with letting my kids run. Even Little Bear. They have some great farm animals there that the kids can get up close to too!
After seeing all the animals Bear was in love with climbing up and over a story high rock. He was doing great too. Then something funny happened. Two little kids walked over to Bear and looked in awe at what he was doing. You could tell they wanted in. But the person in charge wasn’t so keen on the idea. All I heard her say was “no….I don’t know why he can do it…..get down now.” All followed by a sideways glance at yours truly. My response? I took little Bears socks off and let him run on the leaves by the rocks too. It doesn’t bother me when people don’t get why. But I’ll fill you in on a secret. My kids are happier when they actually get to play not just walk around.
It breaks my heart when kids have to follow some rules to a T. Some rules should always be followed. Always brush your teeth. Always use your good words. Don’t talk to strangers. But some rules I think we can let slide once and awhile. Why no climbing on rocks? Why can’t we wonder off the path together? Why do we have to keep our clothes clean and our shoes on?
So I’m that mom. I’m the one who’s kid will be climbing and running around with out socks or shoes on on a nice day. I’m sorry if it makes it hard for you to explain to your kids why they can’t. But you are always welcome to come play with us. With or without your shoes.