This is my backyard.. well almost. If you walk out my back gate, in about a minutes walk this is what you will be looking at... amazing! It's breathtaking, in every season. We visit here (almost) daily, we walk around the groomed pathway, careful not to get too close to the edge... the edge....the water...the fall into the water... (insert mommy-panic face)...I think about this pond a lot. I have had many dreams about this pond... and water... and falling.
When you are responsible for other peoples children there is no room for error. I can proudly say that no child has ever fallen into this pond... ever. My own children who are now 10 and 8 however have fallen into this pond.. many times.(okay, not fallen really, slipped is a better description) They quickly discovered (as did I) that it is very shallow along the edges and very, very mucky! This helps me be a little calmer when we go on our nature walks, but the fear of what-if never really goes away completely. I still hold the hands of my new little two's in September as they learn to navigate their way around the winding pathway surrounding this pond. I still occasionally raise my voice, and ask the children to "use walking feet", and stay together as a group. Water makes me extra nervous...(I'm not sure I will ever feel any differently when I am responsible for 8 children's safety) but once we are around the pond, I feel myself calm again, and more open to enjoy my surroundings.
Children are natural risk takers! They are courageous and amazing climbers. They show little fear around bodies of water, slippery rocks or grassy fields taller than they are. As an educator, I try to encourage risk... "What might happen if you..." maybe I might even give them an encouraging "verbal push".... even the non-walking toddlers in my Infant Program at Little Bears scramble themselves up tricky paths falling over every two or three feet but never giving up. (Yes, we take our non-walkers on walks in the forest!) What I have begun to realize, is truly how capable children are! Especially in nature. There has always been wet slippery branches covered in moss to climb, slimy wet cobblestones to trip us up, and muddy lagoons threatening to swallow us whole. Just being outside is a risk, but obviously, one I'm willing to work through since bubble wrapping our children is not an option.
Every day risks make us stronger, smarter, healthier and more aware of our own bodies.
I found this quote which I feel relates well to this post.
"It's impossible." said pride.
"It's risky. said experience.
"It's pointless." said reason.
"Give it a try!"..... whispered the heart.
As always, thanks for reading!
A beautiful water fall along our path way. The children are not able to climb this water fall however they like to "fish" in the water pond below it. Climbing this structure would be a potential (high risk) as it is more than 12 feet high at the very top.