Durability In Children

Small children are durable. Perhaps not all small children, but certainly mine are very durable. They run full tilt, fall flat on their faces in the gravel, and if you compliment the speed they attained before the fall, they pop back up with a smile and take off again without any notice of the scratches on their knees.

I am an older mom. I take these spills with what is apparently a degree of calm that shocks other people. I see persons leap up to rescue the poor fallen waif, when all I see is a perfectly normal learning experience. It is not that I do not care, I do very much.

I care that my children learn to get up from a fall, assess the positives and keep going. I care that they discover for themselves that most failures are merely opportunities to pause and see that they are OK. Soon the new speed is mastered and another risk is attempted.

I teach them, even when they are hurt enough to cry, that they can still assess. Yes, it hurts, you took an impressive spill, and you are still here. You are standing, the scratches will heal, and you have neither broken bones nor gushing woulds and you ALMOST had it. A fall signals an almost success.

Do I step in and stop them? Sometimes, when I see them attempting something beyond their readiness, I will hop over and lift them down and tell them not until they are bigger. Meanwhile, as they gain skills, I am less bothered by climbing, but might ask them to get down, and watch that they are handling it well. Their ability to master their bodies is amazing.

Other times I point out that while they are successful at what they are doing, the price for an error is very high and they should look for that unneeded danger and alter their play accordingly. Jumping from a bottom step is good, if the path forward is clear, but jumping from that same step toward a table with a metal edge is just asking to knock out teeth.  They take note and I see them at later times assessing other play for similar dangers.

We do no favors when we get too excited over a child taking a spill. Children are durable in most cases and need those spills to grow. Teaching them how to respond to spills now will help them later respond well to failures.

Being there for them is important for those times when they manage to get stuck.  Those times are a chance to teach them more about how to extricate themselves without panicking and the next level of learning will commence.

Dear Lord, please help my children to avoid injury as they develop their ability to master their environment. Thank you that they are so healthy and durable that I can be calm and let them learn. +Amen.

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