Crossing lines

Adults yammered on and on around a little boy about 3 years old. He grew bored. Squirmed. Squiggled. Stretched out on the floor.

mazeTo entertain him, I handed him a sheet of paper with a maze printed on it. Happy to have any distraction he sat up and began to trace the path as if meditating with a finger labyrinth. The boy’s finger made its way over the printed paths with delightful disregard for lines that might be in the way. After blowing through any number of twists and turns that might have blocked progress, his finger reached the end. The boy raised his arms in victory.

“I did it!” he proclaimed.

“Yes, you did,” I affirmed.

Who was I to dampen his enthusiasm? Why tell him that crossing lines isn’t always that easy? Why burden a child with the idea that some lines are best left uncrossed and sometimes it’s hard to figure out which ones.

Better to let him savour his accomplishment. Better to send him out into the world ready to obliterate barriers blocking his path. Better to equip him to cross the many lines there are that need to be erased. Better to encourage than discourage.

He’ll figure it out.

And the adults yammered on.

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About Arlene Somerton Smith

Writer, laughing thinker, miner of inspirational insights, sports fan, and community volunteer

Posted on February 28, 2017, in Arlene Smith, Arlene Somerton Smith, good faith, life, metaphor, modern faith, progressive christianity. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Good advice, Arlene, Thanks. It doesn’t only apply to children, many adults need that same lesson.

  2. My younger son struggled in public school and was put into special classes from third grade on. He always wanted a “A” on a paper he turned in but never got one. One day, he took a red pen and marked “A” on the top of it. He gave himself an “A”. I was totally impressed. Later on, in high school, we put him into a private school where he got much more personal attention and he regularly got ‘A”s — from his teachers. Perhaps that was made possible in part by his own early affirmation of the possibility. Who knows. Kudos to you for not putting barriers in this child’s way, Alia

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