Can we walk the line of unleashing our child’s inner Warrior and set limits?
I recently had a play date with a mother of two. With her newborn on her hip she recounted how different her kids were. How this new baby is rewriting the parent handbook she just finished mastering with her firstborn. Though she was in a familiar place with new challenges, I admired her for setting her life up so she could be fully present. As a young woman she has worked relentlessly to build a successful career and with the same fortitude, she is constructing a purpose filled life raising her children.
After they left, I began to reminisce. When I was a young mom, was my guidebook the same as it is now? I dove into my journal and found this post on letting our kids discover their own limits while keeping them from killing themselves. May you walk the fuzzy line that keeps your heart pounding and still keep your spirit on Earth! Enjoy 🙂
As a “High Spirited” kid, Luke is always willing to take on a battle. Today was no different, yet it was terrifyingly magical.
Luke and Jax are learning to respect animals and the sacrifice they make by providing us food. They’re beginning to understand the cycle of life and the practice of self-reliance. Growing food in the garden, harvesting and canning fruit, learning to fish are all part of life in our family. Learning to hunt is on the horizon.
It’s as if they look out their car window, assessing their food options based on the wildlife we pass. The boys have shrieked for me to pull over when they spot a flock of wild turkeys so they can, “catch ‘em and eat ‘em for dinner.”
This particular morning was luxurious and lazy. Full of eggs, tea and toast; I saw the sun beaconing us to come out and enjoy his splendor. I hustled the boys and Ziva outside. All 3 sporting their pajamas, perfect attire for a morning walk down Kensington Court.
The boys grabbed their scooters and blazed down the street. My morning zen began to unravel as I attempted to call them back. 16 month old Ziva, engulfed, was lagging behind. She inspected every leaf and acorn. Investigating the world that lives within the division between tar and earth.
It’s too quiet, I thought. I could feel the hair on my neck electrify and lift off my skin. I begin my “mother-safety scan” and start to count kids. Ziva, check. Jax, check. Luke….ugh…. LUKE!
I spot him at the end of the court, laser-focused on the two young deer grazing on our neighbor’s cashmere pink hydrangeas. With the stealth of a lion, Luke lowered his scooter to the ground. Confused, I watched as he crept toward the unaware mammals.
Lost, I turned to my middle child, “What in the world is your brother up too, Jax?” My three year old, who is mentally 93, looked at me and shook his head. Throwing his hands up in the air, he gestured, “how the heck should I know?!”
In a burst of movement, Luke exploded forward, breaking into a full frontal attack. Sprinting toward the preoccupied deer, his hands stretched out in front, deadly weapons. His plan? Take them down at the neck and choke them out.
Oh, did I mention he was screaming? Yeah, like an extra in Mel Gibson’s Braveheart who wanted to make every moment of his 3 seconds on film, count.
So here we were, Ziva straddled on my hip with a fist full of leaves and Jax holding both my hand and his scooter. Our mouths dropped to the floor as we watched our warrior, literally, running down what he expects to be tonight’s dinner.
At first I laugh and shout, “Hey buddy, deer are pretty fast runners, I don’t think you’ll catch them.” Silly mommy- what do you know about running down deer? Apparently nothing.
Ignoring my comment, Luke kept after them and ran the startled deer into a corner. Our neighbors fence blocked any chance of escape. The only way out for the two deer? Through my 6 year old son.
In his eyes, he saw an opportunity and he was ready to take it on. With every ounce of his being, he believed he could not only take down one deer, but two at the same time. Looking into those quivering Doe eyes, I could see the animals believed it too… and they were scared silly- at this point so was I.
The color drained from my face as I yelled, “They will fight you and hurt you to get away. They will not willingly be dinner, Luke. Back Off!”
Deaf ears; he was in the “hunter’s zone,” something my husband, hasn’t felt in a long, long time (sorry sweet-cakes;).
Luke crouched lower. His fingers splayed out, channeling his inner X-men Wolverine. The sun beat against his now perspiring brow, his lips curled back, exposing his unbrushed and fierce 6 year old teeth.
Each step was full of intention, “I am going to eat you deer,” was the menacing whisper I heard muffled in each step he took.
“LUCIUS ALEXANDER! STOP! You are trying to send their energy back to the Universe and they are going to fight back and hurt you or send YOUR energy back to the Universe! Don’t move an inch closer!” The words flew out of my mouth and echoed off the hillside. Yeah, that SO didn’t work.
In his mind, Luke KNEW he could catch them. I could see that his purpose in that moment was to take down those deer and I was internally Freaking OUT… Do I run up and try to grab him? He is 10 yards away… what about my baby girl? Do I set her down … what if the deer come this way and trample her, what if she falls off the road and into the creek? Could I trust my 3 year old to hold onto her? Seriously?! Is this really happening?!
I thought to myself, “Okay, God, a little guidance would be AWESOME right now.” Boom! Like a power surge, the words… “protocol” flashed in front of me. I had to appeal to the Vulcan logic that ran deep in my first born.
I tried again, “LUKE!” I hissed. Do you have a permit?!” Suddenly, my deadly hunter slowed but was unwilling to break posture still crouched, menacingly in “attack” mode. Luke’s gaze still locked on his targets, he snarled back, “What?! Mom, what are you talking about? What’s a permit?”
In rapid fire, I explained that when Daddy goes hunting, he has to register for a permit… “It is like asking the hunting department for permission. Do you have one?” Luke broke his focus on the petrified animals and turned to face me, dropping his tense, claw shaped hands to his sides, “One, what now?”
“Something that shows it is okay to hunt these deer. You have to have permission- a permit- or you can’t hunt these deer.” I warned. Ziva squeaked and tried to wriggle out of my too tight grip. I’d clenched her waist so tight to mine, I was hurting her and yet I couldn’t allow myself to loosen up.
“I don’t have one of those,” he sighed, “..I have a library card, does that count?”
“… No, son, it doesn’t. You can only check out books with that, not animals.”
Click. Click. Click; I could see his brain running the program…. “Daddy needs a permit to hunt, I need a permit to hunt. Got it.”
I watch the warrior in him dissolve and slip into the sunshine. Luke shrugged at the deer and backed away, allowing just enough space for them to bound off into the canyon.
I finally released my grip on Jax’s hand and Ziva’s waist, frantically rubbing my fingernail indents on Jaxie’s poor hand with my thumb.
A long, slow breath escaped from my chest as I watched my 3 children squeal and chase each other down the street, as if the moment before never happened.
I learned a lot from Luke that morning. At one point in our young lives, we all believed in ourselves. To the core. True and complete belief in our capabilities. Hunting deer with our bare hands, creating a tempura painted masterpiece; as kids, we didn’t let fear or doubt anywhere near our driver’s seat.
And I also understood to use “protocol” with caution. My kids will, eventually, believe that the limits I put upon them are real. In this instance, well used. But, I must be aware of abusing those limits in the name of gratuitous angst or personal comfort. I must guide enough to keep them from killing themselves AND let them determine their own limits. A heavy responsibility, but what an honor it has been so far.
May you remember that you are capable of most anything and use limits sparingly. Here’s to unleashing your inner warrior!
Laugh hard. Love strong. Live to serve.
Within a few hours of posting, a flurry of activity unleashed and… poof! It was gone!
The choice I made to get rid of that tank, ASAP made me think, … “what else is bleeding me out that needs to go?” Why do we hold onto things that we no longer need? The intentions to do great things with them are there, sure. But I learned today that freeing your physical space, frees your mental space. #Momma’sLettingGo&LovingIt
What could you get rid of, right now or by sundown that would bring you peace of mind?
Laugh hard. Love strong. Live to serve.
Luke claims he is Allergic to Math (insert me rolling eyes here)…hoping that Ben and his Math with Bad Drawings will be a part of his cure…. a great post if you are battling your kidlings on why math is important as well a reminder that how we look at math defines our experience with it. Ben has a gift of finding the fun within it.
“An error isn’t just a blemish we need to erase: it’s the outward signal of some inner thought process. If I can help a student unpack their own thinking, then they’ll learn to inspect ideas more closely, and absorb them more deeply.”-Ben Orlin
Ben Orlin’s signature stick figures have been (snarkily) explaining mathematical concepts since 2013 at Math with Bad Drawings. By day a math teacher in Birmingham, England, Ben is a voraciously curious, multidisciplinary writer and educator whose work has also been published at The Atlantic, the Los Angeles Times, and Slate.
As a longtime fan of his blog, I wanted to ask Ben about cannibalistic numbers, his passion for teaching, and some of the more egregious uses of math in popular culture — and he was kind enough to respond not only with his sharp words, but also his beloved “bad” drawings.
All drawings in this interview are courtesy of Ben Orlin.
What is it about math that made you decide to teach it?
When it comes to learning, I’m pretty omnivorous: I’d have happily taught English, history, or social sciences — anything but lab sciences…
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“Go out and TRY, you never know who you may inspire along the way.” – Nick Vujicic
Since yesterday, I have been pacing, a tiger trapped in a self-imposed cage… I see the mental doorway of where I am to go next and have been lingering back. Letting my “monkey mind” get the best of me, filling my daring brain with mindless chatter based on fear and failure. This is what can happen when I spend too much time on my computer trying to do too many things at once.
Maybe it’s reflecting on the lost of Prince; another musical Messiah, like Bowie, that makes me more aware that my life is shifting. Am I celebrating my time on Earth like they encouraged and demanded? …Kids are getting older, years wisp by in fractions of a second. The house is physically changing and the breaking of its bones send invisible shrapnel whizzing through the air.
I have fought for this shift. The home remodel, working from home to be present for the kids and my husband. Now, as these endeavors evolve, I am ready to un-peel another layer, to discover what new weirdness lay waiting to be unearthed within.
How do I define myself? Mother. Wife. Friend. Mentor. Philanthropist. Marketer, Communicator. Innovator. Messenger. Micro-disrupter. Harmonizer. Healer. Dreamer. Procrastinator. Not-the-best-housekeeper. ….I have erased the word, Writer, at least l0 times from this list. Why?
It isn’t as if I am at a loss of things to say. Is it because I fear that what I have to write isn’t interesting enough for you? Or is it by sharing this moment you would see me a weaker, weirder version, than I have shown you before?
As I awoke today, set my intentions of how I plan to show up for the world and serve, I still felt a bit fake. Instead of jumping “all in” and putting my spirit behind my words, I mentally kept one toe out of the water, going through the motions instead of fully surrendering.
So, the angst continued to plague me. It was relentless. Self doubt grew inside like a balloon. Instead of continuing to run, from whatever nonsense was building up inside me, I decided to turn around and embrace it. Part of me thought I was literally going to explode, leaving tattered remnants of myself all over the kitchen floor.
I crept into the office, sat in front of the computer and thought, “just write.” Get whatever is festering OUT.
Write about ANYTHING. Write about the tools you have discovered that help you show up as a better human being in this world (…Yeah, those same tools that you are not using right now, which is why you feel so disconnected).
Write about how you have been changing inside because you have been trusting yourself more and so desperately want others to discover how empowering that is. Write about how you want to help everyone but sometimes loose perspective and get overwhelmed with the HOW.
Staring at a blank screen, I decided to do some research, ie. stall. Bam! I stumble upon this video of Nick Vujicic; A man who encourages each of us to get out of our heads and live. To try. To fail… I know all of this. I spend my time teaching this.
Today, I needed to hear it again. I needed to hear it in his words; through his story. Nick was born without arms and legs. He struck me as encouraging and compassionate. He reminded me of where I needed to be. Present. Here in the now.
So, I write. With each word, I attempt open the door of possibilities. I allow the world to see me, in this moment. Open and exposed; willing to show each of you my vulnerability. Unsure but trusting myself to make the right choices when they present themselves.
I chose not to file this journal entry away, but to share it with you. Because, maybe today, you need to hear that you are BEAUTIFUL. You need to know that your self doubt doesn’t define you IF you don’t let it stop you from doing whatever it is you are meant to do. That I will love you through your weak moments and weirdness- even if you don’t love or understand mine. That the LEARNING is in the frustration and failure. Feeling humble. Feeling human. Acknowledging that self-doubt lives within us all and what sets us apart is what we do next.
May you go out into the world and try something new today.
Laugh hard. Love strong. Live to serve.
This morning started off a bit rocky, coffee couldn’t cure it, healthy smoothie didn’t even make a dent…. PMS was in full effect. Kids be warned!
Laugh hard. Love strong. Live to serve.
Ziva Sloane, means “Radiant Warrior”
On the 26th of March, my daughter Ziva was coaxed into the world a bit early for her liking. Maybe she knew Earth wasn’t ready for her and wanted to give everyone a chance to catch their breath before her arrival, that or she was busy doing her hair.
Once she arrived, our lives were never the same. Ziva got right down to business, teaching her brothers and parents how to properly care for a Q.I.T. (Queen In Training). Redefining what it means to “hit like a girl” and modeling to the world that you can be a warrior and practice kindness in the same moment. We are blessed to be in your court, baby girl. Here’s to celebrating your 4th year in reign.
Happy Birthday!! xoxo-Mam