Our life is exceptionally safe.
Safe in the "I'm not going to make you do that if it makes you uncomfortable" sort of way.
Each of us takes things at our own pace. Our own right-for-us pace that only we know.
Whether it is learning to read or ride a bike, sleeping at Nanny's house or talking to an adult we don't know – no one is going to push you in but you. We're there for support but not for the nudge. You've got to jump.
If you don't want to, no one will shame you or tease you or express disappointment. You're in charge of your own choices in our home. It's part of our peaceful parenting intentions.
So we each move at our own pace.
It's one of the things I truly love about homeschooling.
While on the Shore we had the opportunity to participate in some activities designed specifically to offer us challenges. And as I helped my kids suit up in harnesses and helmets and clip into to the ropes I reflected on the hundreds of kids I once guided through these same challenges when I worked here.
And I realized how different it felt now with my own children.
Because in the past, all I knew was that child at that moment. They were strangers.
I didn't know their struggles and their strengths, their gifts and their passions. I didn't know what they feared or where they had been.
But with my kids, I know so much.
So when Sage decided that he wanted to do the ropes course and walk a single wire 30-some feet above the ground I knew this choice in the greater context of Sage.
I expected that it would be a challenge but one that could teach him so much.
He'd have to push and move through the discomfort and fear to make it to the other side, if he chose to go on. He could turn back anytime or he could take it all the way to the zip line and jump.
And he did.
After rock climbing two routes (and weathering the disappointment and frustration of it not being as easy as it looks) he donned a second harness and headed up into the tree tops.
And watching him push through his discomfort – watching him really push himself – reminded me of why we do these things to begin with. To build confidence. To remember that no one will make us do it but us. That sometimes it is hard or painful or uncomfortable but if we choose to we can weather it and come out on the other side – stronger, more confident, and self-aware.
And he did.