Thursday, July 12, 2007

I lift my eyes unto the hills...

Mary Hannah: Daddy, can I run up the hill?
me: Um... sure, honey.
Mary Hannah: Thanks!

She takes off running. Seeing MH in such a hurry, Eleanor runs after her and, not to be left behind, Ethan takes off running as well.

A few questions:

Q: Why did she ask my permission?
A1: I'd like to think that we've instilled in her a sense of safety when we are in public places. I think she knows that she's not supposed to go running off from us without letting us know where she is going.
A2: She wanted my attention so that I would watch her, watch over her and make sure that I knew that she wasn't going to go too far.
A3: From experience, she knows that there are things she may be unaware of that could hurt her or threaten her. For instance, I have drilled into her that she isn't supposed to cross the street without an adult. I explained to her that she is not tall enough to see over or around parked cars to view oncoming traffic and likewise, drivers would not see her until it was too late to stop. Another example: she is not supposed to grab things off the counter. It could be a pan of hot water just taken off the stove which looks alright, but will burn her if she touches it. It could be that the towel she is pulling off the counter has a sharp knife on top of it and when she pulls the towel, the knife could slip off and harm her.

I think the bottom line is that in MH's life, I am the authority figure that she looks to for protection and guidance. If I had told her she couldn't go running up the hill, she might have pouted or questioned my decision, but she would have obeyed.

Q2: Why did she want to run up the hill in the first place? What fun is that?
A1: To see what was up there to see, ala The Poky Little Puppy.
A2: To be adventureous and brave while still under the watchful eye and nearby refuge of Daddy.
A3: Because that is what kids with lots of energy do. I remember when I was very young, at my great-grandfather Firestone's house, there was a steep hill that my siblings and cousins liked to roll down. Why? Because it was a blast. We'd run up the hill and then lie on our stomachs, fold our arms over our chests and barrel roll down the hill, trying our best to avoid the rocks and tree stump.

Sometimes we takes risks. We especially like to be daring when we know there is a safety net to catch us. Sometimes we want to see just how far we can go and still be "in sight of Daddy". Sometimes, we just want to push ourselves by going all out and seeing what happens.

Q3: Why did Ethan and Eleanor follow her?
A1: They didn't want to miss out on something special. C'mon... how many times did you complain that your sibling got to do something you weren't allowed to do? There is an innate sibling rivalry that we'll do anything to avoid being left out, even if it means getting a spanking in the process.
A2: They want to be like her. Neither of them has had the exact same lessons drilled into them the way I drilled them into MH. Sure, they know not to walk out into the street and not to pull things off countertops, but they learned it more from watching their big sister than they did from repeated warnings from me and Amelia. As much as we have modeled and taught MH, she has done a similar thing for her younger siblings. It probably isn't fair that it worked out that way, but I suspect that it happens more often than not between siblings.
A3: They'd been wanting to run up the hill as well, but either didn't realize they could ask and be allowed or just hadn't realized till that very moment how much fun it could be. Sometimes this happens to me. I'll see an opportunity but it will never occur to me that *I* could do _________. Then someone else steps up and asks for it and !shazam! they are allowed. Remember the story of the prodigal son? The older brother asks the father, "Hey, how come you never butchered the fatted calf or gave me so much as a goat to party with my friends?" The father essentially replies, "You've been allowed to do it all along, but you never asked. But in this instance, instead of whining about your own situation, be glad for your brother!"

Some of the people we choose to follow are true leaders and some aren't. Some of the reasons we follow others are self serving and some are altruistic. Sometimes, we fail to step up and take the lead because we're timid or blind or just plain lazy.

Q4: Why did I write this blog posting?
A1: I'm in a rambling sort of mood
A2: The picture made me think of Psalm 121 and everything else just flowed from that.
A3: Hey, it's my blog and I can post whatever I want. lol.


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