“Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.” – Gandhi
A couple of days ago I converted Mr. D’s crib to a big boy bed by taking off one of the sides. I kept the crib thing going as long as I could because it’s so comforting to have a child stay where you put them but he’s been exercising his ability to push boundaries by climbing out so it was time.
The first night he got out of bed after I said “good-night” a couple of times, fell out of bed, and the next morning he got up 30 minutes early and woke his sister.
Of course I went through this with Miss O a few years ago but I’m reminded again of the lessons that freedom brings.
When we have freedom – to go anywhere we like or to use our time the way we wish or because we are the boss and no one tells us what to do – it is so exciting. Then we have to decide how to use it.
After the newness wears off, we have to learn to have self-control. We get to choose – within the limits of what is responsible and respectful of other people. We have to make decisions that don’t negatively impact our loved ones or people around us.
And when there’s more freedom, then everyone has to enforce their boundaries. In this case, Mr. D’s ability to pop out of bed is infringing on my ability to have morning kid-free sacred time and Miss O’s ability to sleep.
While kids who are almost 3-years-old are not the most reasonable people to talk and negotiate with, I find that having a strong relationship and consistent conversations about what does and does not work for everyone eventually gets through.
In the days that Miss O was learning how to manage her big bed freedom, I would turn on the Tibetan meditation chant music and say that if she got up early, the only option was to meditate with me. It didn’t take long for her to decide to stay in bed. I did the same with Mr D. except I notice that having another child there as a co-conspirator makes the conversation harder.
Yes, this is perhaps a strained analogy to the state of freedom in the US. But on this July 4th, may we remember that freedom comes with the responsibility to exercise self-control, be respectful of the others around us, the requirement to keep talking with each other and enforce our boundaries. Sometimes freedom works for us and sometimes the freedoms of others make us feel a little crazy and grumpy. We have to keep working for the middle ground where freedom and respect are in balance. We made this bed and now we need to lie in it. 🙂
Happy 4th everyone!