Thursday, June 16, 2011

The price of freedom

Sara is 7 years old and bucking for independence in many areas of her life. It's a delicate balance. We want her to stretch her wings, have some freedom but still be safe and secure. It's a learning process for all of us. As we give her more freedom, we also give her more responsibility and accountability. If she makes the wrong choice, she is learning there is a cost - loss of a privilege or that specific freedom. She has to help with laundry, setting the table, vacuuming, dusting, keeping her room semi-clean, get ready for bed and camp/school with minimal assistance. I'm letting her play in the backyard alone if she stays within certain parameters. If she wanders off, she doesn't get to play outside for a couple days. Last week, we tried something new. She and I went to the library. I let her wander around the children's section while I hunted for my books. All went according to plan. She didn't run away to join the circus. Later that day went to the park and I let her play on the adjacent playground to the one Christian wanted to play on. I reminded her to stay within my eye sight and come when I called for her. She has been known to get distracted and wander off. All went well. She was thrilled and proud of her new found freedom and responsibility. The next day at the zoo, she wandered too far in the wrong direction and was forced to stay clutched to her brother as a punishment. We also skipped a couple exhibits because she didn't listen or stay close by. We are having multiple conversations about choices. If she wants the freedom to make her own choices, then she must make the "right" or "good" choice. It is never to early to learn that actions have consequences. I want her to learn to think about her actions and their effects on herself and those around her. I also want her to be an example for her brother who worships the ground she walks on. He calls her "my Sara". I hope we are on the right path to her becoming a caring, thoughtful, intelligent and considerate woman.

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