March 27, 2014

The View From Here: Tire Swing

This week's VIew is coming to you from Lisa of The Golden Spoons.
Lisa is someone I met through lots of blog hopping. We are also in a blogging group on Facebook.

The "golden spoons" are her three daughters, and she talks here about having to force herself to not be too overprotective of them.

Perhaps you can relate.

Tire Swing

We have lots of wooded areas around our house.  In one spot , down in the woods, my father in law made a tire swing for my three girls.  With what can only be described a grandpa heroics (and a little bit of luck), he threw a rope around a very high, sturdy branch and tied an old tire to the end of the loop.  My girls love it.

Me? Every time I watch them on it I hold my breath.  You see, the branch is very high which means the rope is very long.  When they first get on the swing, in that spot directly under the branch, they are not too high of the ground.  But, just a few steps beyond the “landing” area, the ground drops off abruptly by a few feet, so, when the girls swing way out over this drop-off, they suddenly seem much higher from the ground and, therefore, much more precariously perched atop the swing.

"What if they fall?" I think to myself.  "What if they don't?" I hear myself answer back.  What if they miss the fun, the exhilaration, the time outdoors, the laughter because I was afraid of the "What ifs?"

Thus is the conundrum of parenting, isn't it?  Just like the push and pull of that swing, we are constantly letting go, pushing forward, and hoping they return safely.

We have a fierce desire to protect our children.  We want to spare them from harm and hurt - external and internal.  We want to dry their tears and mend their broken hearts.  Yet, we are simultaneously preparing them to leave our protection and, eventually, be on their own.

Tonight, I watched my daughter on the soccer field.  Her team lost, but she chased that ball and kicked it with all her might.  She had a blast and has come to really love playing soccer.

A couple years ago, however, I was not so sure.  You see, she is not exactly the most coordinated child and was, in fact, rather accident prone when she was younger.  The idea of her playing a semi-contact sport like soccer was very scary to me.  I was certain she would get hurt or, even worse, be laughed at or ridiculed.  She continued to ask and, eventually I gave in and sign her up.

Now, I watch her on that field and think, "Why did I wait so long? What was I really scared of?"  I just wanted to protect her, but the truth is that I was holding her back.  I was keeping her away from something that has turned out to be one of the best things she has ever done!  It has boosted her confidence and she is proud of herself.  It has improved her physical coordination.  It has taught her sportsmanship and teamwork.  She has made friends.  She has had so much fun.

And, I have learned something too.

Sometimes, as parents, we have to be more like our children - unafraid to swing way out over the cliff.  We have to let go and maybe even give them a push.  We have to trust that the branch is strong and that the rope will hold.  We have to have faith that the risk is worth the outcome.  Sometimes, we may even have to be a soft place for them to fall.  But, we can't let the "what if's" paralyze us.

I've seen this quote attributed to several different people, but it has always been one of my favorites and I remember it every time I see my kids on the tire swing or my daughter on the soccer field.

"There are two precious gifts we can give our children.  One is roots; the other is wings."

You know I love that quote. I've used it somewhere on this blog before....

I don't think I've ever been overprotective. At least not to my kids' faces.
I let them do things, tell them to have fun, while inside I'm worrying.
I think back to my own childhood and remember how much more freedom I had than they do,
and then I feel like I'm probably doing the right thing when I let them go.

Get to know Lisa at her:

*If you are interested in contributing YOUR View, please go HERE**

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