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.”

Climbing the Spider WebWell, 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

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Photo Credit: Erin Goodman

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