climb thoz treez!

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my daily moment post prompted some thoughts about tree climbing to start swirlin’ around in my brain space so i thought i might as well dump that here too.

oh gawd. that was getting long and preachy and stupid so i just scrapped it and am starting over by saying what i really want to say.

i was a crazy monkey child growing up and darla is too. i loved the feeling of mounting the obstacles. i loved the satisfaction and pride it swelled up in my tiny, gangly body. i can see it in darla too. can you see her face right there? maybe not because it’s hard with the sun {or is it jesus?} shining right down on her. but she’s really good at it and even though she’s small, i’ve let her from a young age.

and i don’t mean that i’ve helped her. i mean that she’s been climbing trees {and various other items} on her own for a couple of years now. i feel it’s really important for her to see that i trust her and that she can trust herself and her own body. i just think that’s where all the magic happens during an ol’ fashioned tree romp. for a lot of kids, it’s the first big risk they get to take and come out successful and triumphant. who am i to deprive her of that by hovering too closely and directing her from branch to branch. of course i’m nearby but the act is all her 99% of the time. plus, remember when falling out of a tree and getting a bump, bruise or… gasp…even a broken bone was just part of life and learning lessons? not that i want my child to get hurt but i know it’s not my job as a parent to prevent anything bad from happening to her. it’s my job to show her how to recover from the bumps, bruises and breaks. and it’s my job to show her that 99% of the time they do not happen.

we can trust our children. if we trust them more now when they are small we’ll be able to trust them a whole lot more when they are big. that’s just my opinion though. check in with me in 12 years when darla’s climbed out her bedroom window and the jack daniels is missing from the liquor cabinet.

ha! we don’t have jack daniels or a liquor cabinet. squashed that little plan of yours there, missy. you can’t pull anything over on this hawk squaw.

oh anyyyyyyway…

last summer our neighborhood festival brought a rock-climbing wall for the kids. darla was only 3. i could see the desire in her eyes and she quietly told me “mommy, i really want to make it all the way to the top.”  i told her to be brave and never give up. well, her turn came quickly and she proceeded to climb all the way to the top. even when she lost all footing and was hanging on by just one hand. even when the bigger kids around her gave up. she did it. and she came running to me with a huge triumphant smile after. the folks working the climbing wall said they were amazed that she was able to do it but i wasn’t. i was confident that she would.

ok, so that last paragraph was some parental boasting but everything before that was me just putting it out there how i feel about letting my girl get up in a big ol’ tree, or sometimes small ones, and figure it out on her own.

my tips for letting a child {in this case mine but could be yours if you like what i’m puttin’ down} swing from the boughs:

1. don’t do it for them.

2. don’t do it for them. i repeat this. even from the beginning. getting up into a tree should be the child’s effort entirely. that is what makes it an important part of childhood.

3. do help them spot and locate a safe branch if they are stuck. this is different from giving them a play-by-play on how to climb. if she needs help, i direct her and reassure her on which branch to try next.

4. it’s ok and probably best if they don’t wear shoes. our feet are designed for this kind of stuff and have better gripping potential than any sneaker. i have witnessed a surprising number of parents yelling at their child to get down out of a tree for not wearing shoes to climb. this is usually initiated by the fact that my child is running around barefoot so other kiddos follow suite. but this leads me to…

5. don’t yell at your child while they’re up in a tree. this could scare her and cause her to fall. even, if i’m scared or surprised by her climb, i calmly instruct her to come back down.

6. let go and know that it’s going to be ok. i let her try for herself even if it makes me uncomfortable. we’re both learning from the experience in that way. and even if she falls, or has a close call…i know that it’s all going to be ok.


One thought on “climb thoz treez!

  1. So true! man, I remember climbing and sitting in trees everyday. I used to climb the tree out in our front yard when I knew company was coming so I could be the first to see them coming. We have all become to safety minded that things as simple as climbing a tree gets lost in the mix. I fell out of a tree in our back yard one day and i have faded scares on my arms to show how hard I tried to hang on as I slid down the trunk. But how many lessons of “I can do it” did I learn in all those days of climbing.

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