278: How Are You Celebrating Independence Day?
Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. (As defined by Wikipedia)
Happy July 4th America!
I’m not American, (I am Canadian) but I understand why Americans celebrate this holiday every year. It’s a very important day in America’s history. It is the day they claimed their independence. I was inspired by “Independence Day” after spending the day with my son. He “declared independence” from me and his Father today. I’m not sure if this is really considered a “give” but I felt like I had really given my son a gift today. We gave him freedom to choose, freedom to go as far as he wanted and freedom to test his wings – and he flew.
Day 278: Give 278
“The hardest part of love is letting go.”
Do you remember that song? I had to learn that lesson very quickly being a Mom. The first day my son started crawling he crawled right out the front door. I knew I was in trouble. By the age of 2 he was riding a scooter and a “big boy bike” with training wheels. We skipped the tricycle stage all together. Just after his 3rd birthday he told me to take the training wheels off his bike. I gave him a push and he was gone. Freedom tasted so sweet. He had control over a small part his life and a new sense of independence. We have ridden his bike almost every day since then. He has a need for speed, a greater need to do tricks, jumps and hills. My heart drops to my feet most days as he spins around the bike park and seawall.
The Fear Factor
I realized the day my son crawled out the front door I had to resist my need to hold him tight and keep him safe. I didn’t want to teach him fear everything he wanted to try. I could only be there to teach him to be safe and pick him up when he falls down. Have you ever really thought about it? Babies aren’t born with fear for everything in our world. I think we teach them fear just to keep them safe sometimes. Fear keeps us all at bay at different times in our life.
Nicolas literally wore out his first bike. He just received a beautiful new bike from his Dad and I – deep red, a hand brake and bell ready for new adventures. Today he wanted to take on Lions Gate Bridge. It’s not the first time he had rode his bike on the bridge but the last time was with his training wheels. This time we were going for our first family ride. We all had our bikes and off we went. My son not only rode over the bridge but all the way around Stanley Park – 12 km in total. It wasn’t until the final climb out of the park that he finally gave in and said he had had enough. We had our bike carrier handy and he sat down and promptly fell asleep as we made our way home.
I never thought my son would make it over Lions Gate Bridge. I never thought he would have the strength or the determination to ride around Stanley Park as well. We travelled at his speed, we took breaks when needed and kept him fuelled with healthy snacks. We gave him the choice to decide when he was done – not when we were done. He truly surprised us today but we gave him the space he needed to shine.
We let him have his own Independence Day on his own schedule and his own speed. No dragging around doing chores, no schedules to keep or places to run to. We gave him the gift to be free today. Obviously I have the next Lance Armstrong on my hands!
How do you let your kids shine independently of you? How do you encourage and support the individuality? How do you give your kids a sense of independence? Share your story with us.
Time Commitment: 4 hours
Cost: 0 just time