When your daily activities are in concert with your highest priorities, you have a credible claim to inner peace. – Hyrum Smith


Not Safe

I am plagued with questions.  All. Day. Long. 
No, I am not sitting around philosophically pondering the universe.  I am not the one posing the questions at all. 

Instead, I am surrounded by a constant stream of inquiries flowing from tiny mouths.  And all the questions seem to start with the same word: mom.

"Mom, can I climb up this [door frame]?"
"Mom, can we light some fireworks, and I can I hold 10 sparklers at one time?"
"Mom, how high can I climb up that tree?"
"Mom, can we throw rocks at the house?"
More often than not, they are seeking to obtain permission for dangerous activities. 

Sometimes I cringe at the mere mention of my name [mom].  I know that 9 times out of 10 I will have to decline the request.  I don't want to say "no" all the time, so often I try to reframe the request into an acceptable activity.  "Well, you may throw rocks at the tree."

Unfortunately, Parker is catching on to this tactic pretty quickly.  Once he realizes I am essentially saying "no" to his initial request, it's game. on

Questioning: "Why can't I?"  All of my reasons are ignored.
Bargaining: "But I'll be careful."  Logical counter-arguments, dismissed. 
Foul play: "Dad would let me do it."  Ooh, now he's really pushing it.

I resort to the age old: "Because I'm your mother and I said so!"


Recently I decided to change my tactics and institute some experiential learningRead on...

The other day Parker asked if we could build a fort.  Sure.  I helped him secure the big green blanket to the couch, the chair, the coat rack, etc.  Then I pulled out the camera because forts = fun in our house.  Even Jack gets in the mix. 

"Can I stand on the top of the couch and jump onto the top of the fort?" Parker asked.  Sorely tempted to recite a litany of reasons why that would be a bad idea, I stifled a sigh, bit my tongue, and nodded slowly.  "Let's see what happens." 

Parker's eyes were as wide a saucers.  He looked at me uncertainly.  Did mom just say "yes"?  The first time? 

"Why don't we put some pillows underneath first," I asked causally.  As I arranged the pillows and moved Jack a safe distance away, Parker eyed the fort suspiciously.  "Is this gonna be safe?" 

I looked him in the eye.  "What do you think?" I asked.  He's a bright kid, surely he can reason through this one.  We have hardwood floors for Pete's sake!

"Yeah!" Then again, maybe not. 

As he climbed to the top of the couch I tried to assure myself this was not reckless parenting.  It was experiential learning, right?  I held my breath...


BAM!  Parker scrambled up from the now-collapsed fort.  He looked absolutely shocked as he rubbed his sore backside.  "Well that wasn't safe at all!" His surprised tone held just a hint of accusation.

A little demon popped up on one of my shoulders.  "Really!?" it asked in mock surprise.  Meanwhile, the angel on the other side was sadly shaking his head, "For shame, Jessie!"

Eyes wide, using my best "golly-gee" tone, I said, "Well I guess we learned a lot today, huh, Bud?" 

Parker nodded emphatically.  "Yeah!  Jumping off the top of couch onto the top of the fort not a good idea!"

I nodded in agreement and quickly turned away to hide my smile.  I didn't have to say "no," and he learned a valuable lesson in a [relatively] painless way.  SCORE!

"Mom," Parker's voice interrupted my moment of victory, "Can we add some more pillows underneath and jump from the seat of the couch?"


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