We are at the ocean with friends. I have my three children with me. My sixteen month old is thrilled with the tide. She is standing at the water’s edge squealing with delight . I stand right next to her and my hands are within inches of her armpits; ready am I to lift her swiftly if need be, however, I let her interact with the ocean on her own. I let her experience the water on her terms and make her own discoveries with the current.
At one point the water comes in fuller and I recognize that its force is strong enough to make her lose her balance, but I can also tell that it won’t flatten her. I let her take the fall. Plop! On her bottom. She is startled but not afraid. She stands back up and looks at the water with a deeper layer of interest and I believe, a new found respect.
She has gained with more information about the ocean’s power through her own experience rather than through my warning. She is getting to know the ocean in real time. As the next wave rolls in, she backs away from it, now aware that it has the power to knock her over.
Eventually, I scoop my little one up and return to our towel to nurse and rest but she wants no part of lounging; she wants to be back at the water, riding the discovery of the waves.
This kind of play at the water took fierce concentration on my part because I had to be aware of the speed and force of each incoming wave to make sure my daughter could handle it. It would have been easier to pick her up or hold her hands the whole time. But, I wanted my daughter to get her own sense of the ocean; it’s magnificence and it’s strength.
In revisiting this story, I began to think about the difference between one’s intuitive wisdom verses cluttering, habitual fear.
It is imperative that we navigate the world and such that impacts our children with discernment and our primal instincts intact; we all have an internal sense if certain situations are the right place to be or not. What is limiting and unhelpful, however, is the cluttering, habitual fear that grips us so tightly that we stop our children from their birthright of discovery and wonderment. Here’s to honoring the one and releasing the other that does a diservice to our children.
When have you chosen discovery over fear?
About Jessica Williams
Jessica Williams created L.O.V.E. Parenting with a series of techniques for effective communication, deepened connection and more joy in parenting and life. Jessica is also the creator of www.UltimateParentingCourse.com with the best of today's progressive parenting experts together in one program. Jessica is a featured expert internationally on both Mothering.com’s Ask An Expert and the upcoming www.KidsInTheHouse.com. Jessica is a regular contributor to Mothering Magazine’s All Things Mothering, LA Parent Magazine, LA Mom Magazine & DailyBuzzMoms. She has been interviewed on television and radio and taught workshops at family wellness centers, schools and doctor’s offices. Her BirthKit has helped women have a transformational & empowering birth. Jessica maintains a private coaching practice in her native Los Angeles where she lives with her husband and their three children. “Truly amazing woman. I love her advice.”—Carrie-Anne Moss. “All you have shared has helped tremendously.”—Lisa Bonet. “I am experiencing nothing short of a miracle thanks to your laser beam approach.” –Andrea Bendewald.