It’s a windy but sunny day in early fall, and my son and I slowly approach the gigantic spider web climbing net at Tuckertown Park in South Kingstown. My three year old is the tentative sort, and the conversation goes something like this:
“Come on, Devin. Let’s climb the spider web!”
“No, no, Mommy. I too little.”
“Nah, you’re not too little. You can do it.”
“I too scared, Mommy.”
“What are you scared of?”
“I scared I gonna fall.”
Well, yeah, kid — you might! I think but, luckily my mouth doesn’t actually say it. I huge feat for me, let me tell ya! I also think, Do I just drop this and lead him to the oh-so-familiar swings or slide? Or do I encourage him to try it, even though the risk of falling is a real one?
I decide to push him a bit more. After all, how else is he going to learn how to climb? Or be confident that he can climb? Or simply want to climb?
“Well, I can help you if you’d like.”
“You hold me, Mommy.”
“Okay, Devin. Let’s give it a try.”
After a few attempts with me holding him tightly, Devin was willing to try a few baby steps on his own. And then he started taking bigger steps. And then he started jumping off. And then he fell.
And so, I picked him up, gave him a few kisses, and – wouldn’t you know it? – he was at it again!
“In the real world, life is filled with risks… and reasonable risks are essential for children’s healthy development.” — Dr. Joe Frost
- Kids, Play and Risk
- Free Range Kids
- Supporting young children to engage with risk and challenge
- Parkour and Risk
Photo Credit: Erin Goodman