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A Story About a Seedpod

Posted Apr 05 2013 6:00am
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Alexandra was telling me how she got in trouble for picking up a seedpod on the playground last week. Now she isn't allowed to go near the trees. Apparently, when she questioned the authorities as to why such a rule existed they explained to her that she could get hurt if she picks things up off the ground.

"That's so stupid! I mean, you are supposed to get hurt in life, that's the only way you can learn," Alexandra told me.
That's wisdom from my ten-year-old.

She understands that in order to know her world, she must explore her world. Yes, there are certain dangers - there are always dangers - but instead of prohibiting a child from doing anything that might even remotely lead them to even the tiniest bit of danger...teach them. Teach them to use common sense. Teach them to recognize danger. Teach them to make wise choices and decisions. We mustn't take away those important experiences and opportunities.

This reminded me of my favorite book, The Giver. Anyone who knows me knows I am passionate about that book. In the story there is a community where people are not allowed to make choices or even think on their own; for if they are allowed to think and choose and discover, they might make a wrong choice and consequently hurt or feel sad.

In that community there was one person selected to hold memories of what pain and suffering was. That person, The Giver, was passing all of the memories on to the young boy that would take his place. I think this simple passage supports exactly what Alexandra said
"Why do you and I have to hold these memories?"
"It gives us wisdom," The Giver replied.
It is true, to truly live - to truly understand - we must sometimes hurt. That is how we gain wisdom. Life is about experiencing all things, both good and bad. That is what living is.

It caused me to reflect back on times in life when I have hurt. More specifically, I thought back to the pain I felt when Elisabeth's hydrocephalus was diagnosed. That was the most painful experience of my life, but - as Alexandra so wisely expressed - it is because of that experience that I have been able to grow and learn. Indeed, because I have experienced pain, I can know and understand joy. And oh, what joy Elisabeth has brought me!

Moral of the story: let the girl pick up the seedpods already.

p.s. How is Alexandra so wise? Seriously, she knows at 10 what I didn't learn until I was 27.
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