Don’t do that! Don’t climb. Don’t push. Don’t Don’t Don’t I hear parents, moms especially, shout these warnings out to their children a lot. Whether I’m in a playground, in a mall, in Sunday school, even in my studio, I often hear parents tell their children to not do something. I guess that it’s human nature, a natural reaction, of knowing about the consequences. A mother would tell her son not to climb because she’s afraid that he will fall. She would tell him not to push because he might hurt himself or other. Out of fear of the consequences, a mother would tell her child not to do something. That’s so natural. On the other hand, I wondered, isn’t she limiting her child from experiencing first hand knowledge? Does her fear stop her from letting her son learn something on his own? How does a mother decide what to do? My non-parent mind can’t wrap itself around the complexities of raising a child and I always find myself gaining new-found respect for parents after such wondering thoughts.
Especially after I met William and Elaine, the parents of baby Ethan. As I watched them together, I kind of got an idea of how to handle in case I find myself in the above situation (not now, but later on, when I have kids, of course): should I stop my child from doing something that I fear will have harmful consequences or should I let him learn first hand? William and Elaine let their son, Ethan, do whatever he wants. They don’t seem to limit him from doing anything. They give him warnings, but instead of stopping him from doing something, they will tell him to be careful. When I asked them if they worried he will fall, they told me that even though they do, they know that he is able to take it, and so they let him be. Interesting, isn’t it? Instead of letting their fear be the standard, they got to know their sons ability to handle things and let that be the standard.
As a result, Ethan is a brave boy. He’s confident and very sociable. He’s easily the friendliest one year old boy I have ever met. He isn’t afraid of everyone and usually the first to greet people, even the ones he’s never met before. I think that’s an amazing personality to have in a child and a great indicator of parental success.
William and Elaine, you’re doing a wonderful job. Your Ethan is truly adorable! Definitely the cutest sumo baby in town!