D and I spent Mother's Day up at the Princeton Blairstown Center with a groups of other (mostly) Quaker families for a gathering of Young Young Friends. (T's idea of a perfect Mother's Day weekend is full of peace and quiet, sleeping in, staying up late watching movies, and golfing.)
The weekend is full of adventure. Here's the fearless D tackling an extremely precarious "tip-over ladder":
D looks forward to this trip for months in advance, and was quite an evangelist in his First Day School and Beginning School classes. As a special bonus, this year he invited his friend JT to join him.
On Saturday the boys participated in a trust-walk course, in which the sighted person has to lead the temporarily sightless person through a series of obstacles. The limits of language quickly become apparent. How big is a "big step?" How far to the left is "a little to the left?" (And which side is left, again?) Our boys did a great job of being patient and careful with each other:
How sweet is that?
On any hike we took that weekend, the boys were quick to claim their highly independent status, working their way up through the column so that they could be walking with each other and behind some big boys, rather than next to their mothers. The confident spring in their steps was a joy to behold:
Adventure, trust, independence, confidence... such great gifts! I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities my Quaker community has provided me as a parent. A few days after we returned I had dinner with a friend who is the father of two young boys. Upon hearing my stories about Blairstown, he shared that he spends a lot of time thinking about the challenge of raising undamaged boys. The phrase has stuck in my heart.
Another friend of mine is dealing with the return home of her eldest son, who has left school and is struggling with depression.
What would an undamaged boy look like? And how can we raise them?