Do you remember worrying about anything as a child? I honestly do not remember having any real worries. I remember that there were things I was allowed to do and things that got my name penciled in on the ‘naughty list’ but I certainly did not worry about them.
My parents sheltered my sister and I from the coarse realities of life. They gave me the gift of just being a child in a world where sometimes, the only thing I had to do was remember to switch off the garden hose after I’d been playing in the muddy water all day long.
I didn’t have to comprehend things like the rather awful connection between the roast lamb I was enjoying for Sunday lunch and the beloved lamb from Mary had a little lamb or the link between delicious rashers of bacon and the marvelous (lucky) pig from Charlotte’s Web.
As I grew older that sort of thing began to change, all rather organically. Again, my parents managed to allow the real world to dawn on me at a pace that I was comfortable with, until I was mature enough to understand things like bacon with a certain amount of perspective thrown into the mix.
That said, I was still boy then, a child no longer but not quite a teenager and the central theme of a poem by Longfellow resonates for me from that time of my life.
A boy’s will is the wind’s will, and the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts.
I was growing up and found that I now had equal parts additional freedoms and realities bestowed on me. More importantly, I was old enough for adventures beyond the cul-de-sac I lived in and I could have those adventures on a bicycle. This was a tool for taking me further away from home than I’d been before on my own, but just easily able to bring me back before the street lights switched on. The freedom of the wind in my scruffy hair. The freedom of scrapes and falls and ramps and punctures and near misses. All experiences guaranteed by the reckless abandon of youth. My favorite pastime by a country mile was freewheeling down the long main road in our suburb with my hands raised up over my head and the wind almost, but not quite, lifting me up into the sky like I was an extra in a scene from E.T.
My two little princes are just beginning to get glimpses of those freedoms. They can flit between our house and their grandparent’s house at will, but no further than the street we live in. They can ride their bicycles up and down our street, but only with parents hovering nearby. They can play in tree houses and swim in pools and walk the dog in the park, but only the closest park and again, all only with a chaperone.
I long to give them more and more freedoms because each new one, unlocks a brand new dimension of life for them to explore and for us as parents to enjoy watching them unpack like a Matryoshka Doll.
However I’m also going to leverage technology to keep tabs on them. You bet. They’re going to be covered with GPS trackers before they leave the house on any adventures that resemble something from Huckleberry Finn. In point of fact, I’m going to try stitch a drone to each of them that will follow them around, recording everything and ensuring they continue to make smart choices.
Life is no longer as simple as it was and let’s face it if you, as a child, knew your parents were watching you, more than half of what you did in a day would get vetoed by your internal common sense engine. You’d stop in your tracks and turn to look up at the drone and raise your hand – acknowledging you almost made a mistake.
That’s the theory anyway.
In all probability, they’ll be crafting weapons to shoot down the drones and attaching their gps trackers to stray animals before they set off on an adventure Mark Twain would have been proud to pen.
I need a nap just thinking about it.