I am so happy to bring to you a story written by Emma Lawson. Emma approached me a couple of weeks ago and asked if she could be a guest on my site. We share the same passions for our children, family and parenting and I couldn’t be more delighted than to introduce her to you.
So, without further delay, here is Emma’s story. I know she’s excited about it and we hope you will enjoy it as much as she did in writing it and with me posting it.
Let your Kids Lead the Life Adventure
Most people go through life without ever living to the fullest and without experiencing the thrill of adventure. Some do experience it once or twice a year when they get those two weeks off, but people who live their whole lives as an adventure are rare and they usually go to extremes. It is probably a subconscious reaction to never experiencing freedom and excitement from early childhood. I believe these two extremes can be balanced if kids are brought up with the sense of adventure from the beginning. Here is my personal story.
One of the things I am most grateful about is the way I was brought up. My parents both had many siblings, but I was their only child and they gave me all the attention they didn’t get as kids. I had the most playful parents. They let me experience things for myself instead of telling me what was right for me. For example, we had a baby goat once and I insisted on having it sleep in with me in my bed. They let me do it until I figured you can’t sleep with a goat for more than a few nights in a row. There were no restrictions to experience, only an open space for learning which allowed us to get along well.
Another important thing for me was that they never tried to entertain me. I was given the whole world as my playground and I was supposed to come up with my own play, and that really taught me how to be self-sufficient and not rely on anyone else when trying to have fun. I learned how to work to create space for fun. There was a lake in my hometown with a public beach where everyone went in the summer – except us. We went through the forest to the other side of the lake which was wild and without easy access to the water. We camped and I was given a small fishing boat and a paddle, I was shown once how to row and I was rowing alone soon after. I was around seven.
They taught me adventure should be useful instead of destructive. My father had a cottage out in the nature, and he would usually be busy with his orchard, making lunch and repairing stuff. Since I was usually bored, he would give me a hatchet and send me out on a quest for firewood and dry branches. He taught me how to cut shrubs and make paths in the forest so that’s what I did, all alone and completely confident in my abilities. That taught me how to be independent and feel capable of overcoming any challenges that might arise. I believe my father was actually spontaneously doing what the wonderful Montessori method teaches nowadays; he should have been one of those teachers.
The most valuable thing I received from my father is the experience of the joy of freedom. He had made me a little custom parachute once, and I would strap it around my shoulders and run down a steep hill. Sometimes the wind would lift me up and I’d fly for a short while. He was teaching me how to fly alone. Later, when I grew up, I travelled the world completely alone without any fear, making my dreams come true, because I knew I was the little girl with a hatchet who could handle rapid waters and I had experienced my own pair of wings.
Emma is a teacher, constantly improving her skills both as a teacher and as a parent. She is passionate about writing and learning new things that can help you to lead a quality life. She is a regular contributor to High Style Life. You can follow her on Twitter @EmmahLawson.
If you like this, here are more links to some of her other published articles:
What a wonderful childhood that started Emma off to feeling confident and strong. A few hints of those adventures and I can only imagine how she could fill the pages with wonder and wildness of what nature felt like as a child. I wonder if she was ever scared or how did she learn to do things when they were hard?
Oh my, the stories she could tell. Thank you, Emma, for sharing with us you, as a little girl, with a pair of amazingly loving parents. I can dream and only imagine what it was like. No doubt you are passing along the same wisdom to your sons. There is so much to be learned in giving our children the freedom to learn on their own while keeping them safe and allowing them to make their own choices.
Can you remember the innocence and sense of adventure of your childhood? Just as it was for Emma, I hope it was full of joy, launching you into the rest of your life.
Pat from the ‘ol kitchen table
Pat, I have read that story from Emma Lawson and frankly speaking I truly loved it! Emma is one of those rare children who really understood the meaning of childhood: a phase of self-discovery and a way to prepare yourself facing adulthood later.
The trouble is that very few adults succeeded, at the example of Emma’s parents, understanding about being a child, because those same adults forgot those early years too fast, since they were crowded under the bunch of responsibilities within their adulthood awaiting them.
I remember that last year, my son loved collecting snails in the garden and taking care of them! As an adult, my first reaction would be to protect him because of being an animal full of bacteria, by fear that my son falls sick. But I don’t know why, on that day, I played the game with him and though I didn’t touch the snails, I accepted assisting my son for taking care of his new little friends. But I had to keep that secret and to tell my son not to say a word about this to his daddy, otherwise he would get scolded since his daddy would never understand the philosophy behind such a game, lol!
The trouble with us, adults, we think that we are doing the right thing by forbidding our children to do some things which seem to be delicate, dangerous or disgusting to us, adults, but which are totally natural to them, children. We think that as adults, we have all the answers to their questions and to their education… But in reality, it’s the children who teach us the right way, that same right way which we prefer ignoring and denying.
There is always an angel within children and that’s not for nothing it’s quoted that truth always comes from children’s mouths 🙂
Hi Uma — I’m glad you enjoyed Emma’s story and that you already knew her and read her story before. It is refreshing to read about her childhood and how wonderful it must have been growing up with parents like that. I like how you joined right in with your son and his pet snails. Don’t you love the innocence? Children can teach us that.
You’re right with adults and parents having all these rules trying to protect and save our children from harm. I understand that but also makes me wonder where all the fear came from. It’s not just in our world and cultures today but it’s been passed on from generation to generation.
I think Emma’s story will go a long way in helping us to let go a little and let our children lead more. They know more what they feel and want than we do in so many ways.
Well, to be honest, it’s the very first time that I have heard about Emma and this thanks to you. If only all parents of the world could follow her steps, there would be no fear and our children would feel much better in life today. I fully agree with what you said: Children teach us innocence because they know the meaning of innocence, and indeed the TRUE values of life.
You asked a very good question: Where does that fear come from? What could have happened to humanity to create such an atmosphere of fear within their minds? I have just found a link which may interest you, and on which I may comment later in my blog, and which explains it: http://www.parents.com/parenting/better-parenting/style/how-to-let-go-of-your-fears-and-give-your-child-more-freedom/
And most of all, what is FEAR itself? No one did even try to know the meaning of FEAR before, until we would watch that inspirational video from Nick Vujicic, which answers to that question perfectly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aj50QkXYYLE
Thanks, Uma. It is an interesting topic and raises questions and hopefully more discussion from what Emma presents in her story. I haven’t thought about it, as much, now that our girls are grown but I do see how different it is these days with our grandchildren. It’s changed from even when our girls were little.
Wow! Thank you for the links. They definitely address this and truly inspiring. 🙂
I am very happy that you enjoyed the links which I sent you about Nick and about parents’ fear, especially since you shared them on your Google+ dear 🙂 And I think that such stuffs should be meditated about by all parents, new ones like experimented ones. Fear doesn’t come from outside, fear comes because we and only WE attract it through lack of confidence and negativity.
I did enjoy them. Thank you, Uma. I was happy to share. There are a lot of pressures on parents these days and it’s so true what you said about meditating on how to deal with it and keep our connection along with learning new ways. Fear definitely plays a part in it and not just with raising children. I’m a grandmother and no less concerned. I play a different role but can see some of the challenges. I think each generation has their own things to work through and there is always a lot of good to take away from it.
First of all, thank you for reading my story. Yes, I had a wonderful, care-free childhood, but I still find myself forbidding my boys things I did when I was little. Through writing these kind of articles I reconnect with what I used to be. I’d like to slap myself each time I interrupt the boys’ game.
First of all, it’s a great pleasure for me to acknowledge you from so many kilometers afar 🙂 I am from Island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean but I am settled with my family in the archipelago of the Seychelles, still in the Indian Ocean as well 🙂 I have acknowledged Pat Ruppel a couple of years ago through LinkedIn and was blessed to have such a wonderful friend like her 🙂
Dear, you don’t have to feel guilty when you forbid to your children what you allowed yourself to do in the past. This is the protective side within every maternal instinct, and you cannot do anything against it. As I related to Pat before, my son once was playing with some snails in the garden, and they were really disgusting :S But despite being afraid that he would fall sick since they contained lots of bacteria, I tried my best to play the game with him but had to impose a condition with him, which was not to play such games in presence of his father, since neither his father, nor even my in-laws would understand such games as they are very strict when it comes on children’s hygiene, health and safety. It’s very hard when you have pressure over your shoulders for such innocent things and coming from other people, but in another hand, as you said, it’s a piece of your own childhood that you are either re-discovering, or that you never had the chance to live during your childhood and giving your child to live again.
Once more thank you so much for that great article of yours and always be happy and blessed in your life xoxoxo
I wish that my children had the opportunity that I had to explore things on their own and create their own entertainment but fear that changes in our society have restricted our children’s ability to find their own way. I remember spending most of my childhood wandering and exploring our neighborhood on my own. As long as I made it home by dinnertime, all was good. Now, as the father of a 12-year-old, I’m only just starting to get over the feeling that I need to know where he is at every moment.
I know what you mean, Ken. It’s definitely a different time now. I think there are ways to still allow children those freedoms to explore and find their own way, like Emma talks about. It’s just going to look different.
Like you, I miss those simpler times when I played outside until the street lights came on and wandered all over the neighborhood on my bike.
Here’s a little something that might warm your heart and bring back those memories. (Click on link below.)
60s Mike Rosen Radio KOA85
I hope we can help our children today capture those same simpler times. Maybe, it’s like Emma says — we just have to let them lead the way. 🙂
“As long as I made it home by dinnertime, all was good. ” That’s just great, Ken. All the freedom we had summarized in one sentence 🙂
What an inspiring post! I completely agree with everything Emma said that encouraged her to be creative and independent on her own. Thank you for sharing this Pat. Hugs to you!
Thank you for sharing, Susan. I’m glad you enjoyed it and also think that Emma did a wonderful job on this post.
It was inspiring to read about her childhood and how her parents instilled the foundation of confidence and freedom to explore at an early age.
I love that she gives me hope and is being an advocate for our children and passing this along. Hugs to you and have a great day! 🙂
Great post, I think there’s less opportunity now for children to explore and experience in the way there once was – fear has put paid to that.
It sure has, Andrea, thank you. I have to believe there’s still ways to capture it today for our kids. I think Emma can show us how. It will just be different — children will always be children in their innocence and curiosity. 🙂
What a wonderful childhood Emma had and that goes without saying wonderful parents. My oldest son and I were just discussing a similar topic in which he lamented the fact that he can’t let his children play and wander about as freely as he did when he was their age.
Yes, Lois, it sure sounds like it was a wonderful childhood Emma had. Even though the conditioning of the world tend to make us be more restrained, I think she has an edge where she can connect to those times, bring them forward and remember. Her sharing and writing helps us to see what’s possible, if we watch how our children play and allow them to lead the way. I see you doing that with your grandchildren.
It is different today where we have to be more cautious for their safety because of how our culture has evolved and the dangers. It may seem to be less free but there are ways to still let them experience it — just in a different way. 🙂
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Unfortunately, in Miami and in far too many of America’s cities, the “life adventure” for children is warped by street crime and poverty and dysfunctional home life. Suspicion, fear, hate and disappointment monopolizes room for wholesomeness.
I know, Carl. There are so many things kids and parents have to work through these days. Technology may have made things faster and easier but life sure seems harder and more complicated. Thank You!