Is it responsible to be a truly free spirit? Flying like a kite, mindless of anything but the currents that carry us to the next adventure? Even a kite is tethered to a string. Without the resistance pulling on that string provides, the kite wouldn’t sail half as high.
I always love it when I have all of my children and grandchildren together. For a number of years, Easter has been one of those times. We all went to the Philadelphia area to see my mother and celebrate the holiday with her, my sister and her family, and my husband’s twin brother. We enjoyed meals, giggling, walks to our favorite chocolate shop, and some kite flying last year.
Having four generations together made for some fascinating observations. The great-grandchildren always gravitated to my mother – not because they were prodded to, but because she was a kindred, free spirit, and they recognized that. Children, for the most part, say what they think, imagine freely, and show their emotions spontaneously. My mother still had those qualities in abundance, but in adult company, she was somewhat more restrained.
Fortunately for my mom, she had a career (writing) that allowed her to scratch her creative itch and get paid for it. But as an editor, she also had to manage budgets and personnel, and make sometimes unpopular decisions. When did she learn to think a little before she spoke? When did she understand that she had a responsibility to others as well as to herself?
Our parents taught us to be ourselves, but mindful of others. We were allowed to make a huge papier-maché mess in the play room, for example – but never to say hurtful things to one another. Mom and Dad encouraged our love of words and music, our sports ventures, supported our every performance and treasured every handcraft. But they also had expectations.
How much do you rein in children who are truly free spirits, whose minds are racing and whose enthusiasm is contagious? Hopefully enough to keep them from getting caught in a kite-eating tree, and with enough support to help them soar. Guarding against climbing too high into danger, but allowing enough experimentation to learn individual limitations and strengths. And letting go a little with each year.
A parent’s toughest assignment is letting out that string a little at a time. We never really let go, and each time that kite takes a dip, so do our hearts. Still, we do our best to send our children and their free spirits soaring, on a proverbial wing, and a prayer.
This post is in response to a Weekly Photo Challenge from the WordPress Daily Post. The challenge topic for this week is Free Spirit. To learn more about the challenge, or to see other spirited entries, click here