Thursday, March 4, 2010

Climbing Down the Stairs

When my oldest was just learning to walk and climb and all those things, don't laugh at me, but I thought that if they knew how to climb up, they knew how to climb down instinctually.  Oh my gosh!  Now I think of that and see how really dumb that logic is....  What WAS I thinking?  I was a new mom, and as one of the younger children in my home growing up, what can I say?

Q climbed up the stairs at the church the first time she climbed.  I was standing in the hallway watching so proud.  What a big girl!  She got to the top of those unpadded stairs and decided to come down.  Poor baby.  Why wasn't I faster?  I caught her as she reached the bottom step and picked her up as she cried.  Kicking myself all the way.  I guess you could say that day I learned my lesson--don't assume that know-how is instinctual in any way.

From that time, my attitude has been that sometimes we have to teach our children to come back down from a place they've gotten themselves into.  They may get up, but most of the time, the down must be taught.  If we don't teach them how to get down, we're doing them no favors.  If we grab them down, again, we do them no service, and in addition, we will always be known as the one who can get them out of the situation.

We have a long flight of stairs in our house on which many children have learned to climb down.  I had one child who, from the first time he climbed, would get to the top and would sit and cry waiting for someone to come save him.  I loved that I never had to worry about him taking a tumble, but I did have to worry that it was my job to empower him with what he needed to get himself safely and confidently down.

Funny, I was reading another blog which brought these insights into my brain and made me decide to write, but I didn't realize that writing this would lead me to the solution to my own problems this morning.

I still have one child that has yet to learn to climb, literally, down the stairs, but I have six others who have many figurative stairs to learn to maneuver in this life.  The trick is to teach them how to do it on their own; to give them the skills and confidence (through word and example) they need to successfully get through what life has to offer them.  Teach them once, and they'll be just that much smarter to get themselves through other things.  Save them once, and the teaching takes that much longer, and you have a mess to get yourself out of.

4 comments:

meganconser said...

Any tips on teaching them to get down? I thought it was so cute when Kathryn got stuck up on her "pedistal" as well call it... all day long yesterday she would get up and almost immediately scream for help to get off. I spent at least an hour or so combined on trying to show her how to get down. I even let her topple down once. didn't help... oh well, today is a new day... but such a good way to explain why we need to teach our children independance, and why its important we do so!

Julie said...

Oh Megan. I hope you didn't take any of this personally. I thought your post was darling. It just jogged my memory about poor Q, and as I got to writing, I realized how much that little image of Kathryn on the box helped me work through the things that are stressing me out right now.

I think I tend to be a little too hands off sometimes. I need to get in there and battle it out with them and not just let them learn from life's experiences in some cases.

Thank you for what you reminded me of today. I really needed to learn this.

vaxhacker said...

Great post! On the surface fun and memorable for all of us who have kids... and reading deeper... very deep and thought-provoking for those of us raising kids who are past the stair-climbing point.

meganconser said...

lol- No Julie- I seriously am trying to figure out how to get her down without her screaming at me or the kids to lug her down! Still trying! Its bad enough Ihave two older sassy kids, now my sweet baby screams at me too!

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