Saturday, July 14, 2007

He has a mind of his own

A few weeks ago (yes I am so behind on posting here) we were at swimming lessons at the Beach Waterpark. A sibling of one of the many children taking lessons was happily pushing his stroller around. He looked to be about 15 months old or so. At one point he pushed the stoller (one of those cheapy umbrella things) rather close to me and his mother came rushing over and said in a guenuinely apologetic tone "I am so sorry, he has a mind of his own." I smiled at her and replied "There is no need to apologize for that". She walked away and I know she probably never realized that I didn't just mean that she didn't need to apologize for her son almost hitting me with the stroller, but that she didn't need to apologize for her son having "a mind of his own". Why did she say it like it was a bad thing? What is wrong with independent thinking? Of course our society and its institutionalized learning isn't too fond of free thinking, it is certainly easier for those in charge if everyone is "single minded". Even at such a young age it was important to her that he conform, and not act or think, outside of the box.

Probably not even 15 minutes later, I hear a familiar scream. It is Will, arguing with a rather flabbergausted lifeguard (his swimming instructor) who was trying to take him into the bathroom. He was refusing and screaming at her, smart boy, he knows that you don't let ANYONE take you in the bathroom or take off your swimsuit, and he knew that I was close by, because I had told him at the beginning of class that I would be at the tables right by the restrooms. I walked over to rescue him from the situation and the lifeguard said, in a rather disgusted tone, "he certainly has a mind of his own." As I scooped a sobbing Will up into my arms, I looked at her and said "Yes he does, isn't it wonderful?" Of course she looked at me like I had 6 heads and turned and walked away. She probably will never give the conversation another thought.....I, on the other hand, have been pondering it for weeks now!

Free thinkers, learning in freedom, embracing children for having their own minds.....that is my awesome wish for today!

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