Friday, October 29, 2010

for the wild things

As I work on preparing the outbuildings for winter, the kids have taken on a project of their own. They will be in charge of turning the upstairs of a small carriage house behind the house into a club house. They've filled a note book with plans and yesterday we started the patching and painting.

This will be a place for the children to exercise freedom and responsibility...a place the kids will rule. The only requirement is that they (and their club members) discuss and come to an agreement about the rules they will live by. I've already heard some spirited round table discussions over chocolate chip cookies.

Although my kids played in the ally and small garden behind our row house in the city before we made our move, I really had to overcome my concerns to give them the space they needed (and I admit I was peeking out the kitchen window the whole time) I think any mother could imagine what my concerns might be. In contrast, I remember being told as a child to go play outside - I'd run around exploring the barns, fields and streams, with or without a neighborhood kid, until I was called for dinner. I know that time was important and I've tried to find a balance between caution and "executive function" no matter where we find ourselves.

It's interesting to watch the diplomatic skill and work ethic that emerges when they really believe they've been left to their own devises.

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