Trust…a thing that many of us find very difficult to do on a daily basis. Trust a child…many said they cannot or never would. But I have a lot of trust in Félix. I truly believe that we reep what we sow. How can I ask trust from my son if do not extend to him the same trust.
But let’s talk risky play and trust. This can be tricky. I trust that I have taught my son the proper climbing techniques. I trust I gave him ample opportunities to start on small climbs and build his way up. I trust he will take his time and make thoughtful decisions when making his next move. But trusting when the moment comes can be difficult.
On a recent visit to Arizona I was made aware of Riverview Park which is on the list of 1 of 50 parks all children should visit in the USA. This park’s main attraction was a 50 foot rope climbing structure! Up until this point 20 feet has been the highest Félix has ever climbed. I didn’t talk to him beforehand. I was curious how he would react.
His reaction was to throw off his sandals as he ran towards it. Absolutely no hesitation…
I watched him as he climbed, as I had many times before. He takes his time, he choses his path carefully. He makes good choices. He feels the rope before he steps to ensure safety. Risky play leads to thoughtful decisions and choices.
As he approached top he slowed down. The structure was designed for children older then Félix (4) so the higher he moved up the larger the gaps and the more challenging it became for him. I listened to the other children asking him how old he was and yelling in amazement at how young he was. On the ground people kept asking me about how old he was and stared in disbelief when I answered them.
He paused to long down a the ground for a moment…then continued on…to the TOP!
He rested for another minute then made his way down. He ended up taking the outside of the structure down which made my belly flip flop a little.
And continued his way down…hanging, swinging…
As he jumped down he came running to me. The huge smile on his face. The smile of pride. The same smile I had on my face. Risky play can be challenging in more ways then one. It is hard to give all your trust in something you know could harm your child. No safety net at this park. A fall would have resulted in great harm. But if we don’t try we will never know. I will end with one of my favourite quotes.
“There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask “What if I fall?”
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?”
― Erin Hanson