Sunday, June 9, 2013

Climbing The Slide

To my son Tommy,

It is inevitable in any child's life, the moment that he realizes he can climb up the slide.  This is probably one of the earliest moments of rebellion.  In your mind you are not only defying the rules but defying the very existence of the laws of nature with regards to gravity and four year olds.  You have had this realized ability for about a year and I have let this scofflaw attitude exist.  But as often happens with the passing of times or the changing of circumstances, conflict arises and what passed for okay before needs to be adjusted.  We had one of those moments in the playground after mass.  I told you I didn't want you going up the slide part with all these kids around.  I asked you to do the most difficult task and to not do what all the other kids were doing and do the right thing.  It is only because I see the potential for injury in the log jam on the large curly screw shaped slide.  I saw a wee one, one smaller than you, fall off that slide today due to the bigger kids  climbing up and sliding down at the same time.  I panicked and was frozen and tried to alert the adult nearest.  Lucky enough the little one somehow managed to land on his feet.  And though you weren't directly involved, you are the only one I can directly manage.  You cried and argued and pouted at the bottom of that slide.  You reminded me of how "unfair" it was to me when my parents made me follow rules because of other people's mistakes.  You respected my rule even though every other child seemed to be going up the slide just to spite us.  You did, however, manage to negotiate that if the crowd died down and the slide was clear that you could go for your daredevil climbs.  And being a stubborn Irishman like your old man, you were determined to stay till enough people left and you could take advantage of your negotiated deal.  It is such a weird point of view to finally be on the other side of the "slide rule" and only now am I certain that one day in the distant future you will finally understand that occasionally you have to subject your child to rules and higher standards because of other people's actions.  And one day in the distant future you will realize that just because you can climb up the down slide, doesn't mean that it is the right thing to do and you have to do it.  You may realize that when everyone goes up the steps and down the slides, it works better for everyone.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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