Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Wisdom at Fort Rapids

My son wanted to go to Fort Rapids, as a family, for his birthday.  It was great fun and I got a chance to sit and write for a bit.  I was amazed to list out all the ways that wisdom was needed at an indoor water park!  I thought I would share with you the thoughts I had about daily wisdom and discernment.

Some were obvious:  no running on the wet slippery floors and making sure everyone knew where our towels and stuff were.  We made sure that everyone had a buddy and stayed with their buddy.  Buddies could rotate but you never leave a man behind. ;)  We also had to think ahead to pack goggles, coins for the lockers, and big fluffy towels. 

Some things though were not so obvious.  We had to walk out with three very disappointed children the first time we went because we didn’t think to verify which days the water park was open (tip: they are not open on Tuesdays in the winter).  Once we got there on the correct day, we had to remind our children to accept the correction of the life guards graciously.  While I thought that should be obvious, I can tell you that I saw plenty of children that day who had obviously not received these instructions. 

Our family has a standard of modesty that is higher than our current culture’s.  Our children exercised discernment in what was appropriate to wear; as well as, discern that it was not okay to lecture the teeny-bopper on her choice of attire (or lack thereof).

Our children were generally good at being aware of the other children around them.  They watched out for young toddlers and other less-steady swimmers.  They stayed out of the way of rambunctious teens and adults.  They didn’t stare at couples who “forgot” they were in public and sat cuddling and kissing.

We had to exercise self-discipline as a family in getting out the door on time.  We also had to get our school work done first (and whining just slows the whole process). 

I read a wonderful book a couple years ago called Last Child in the Woods.  This book impressed upon me the need to allow my children to explore without constantly reining them in or micromanaging their every move.  I no longer tell them to “be careful” but to “be smart.”  In the case of my oldest, who will charge into things without thinking, I will say, “be slow and be smart.”  I want them to know their limits but I don’t want them to be limited by them. 

It feels a bit strange to pick apart one day like this.  I am glad I did though, because I can see how wonderful it is when my children do exercise wisdom.  I can point out to them the benefits they received from practicing discernment, self-discipline, and thinking ahead.  Hopefully, this encouragement will help them to see these benefits for themselves in the future.

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