Our definition of freedom changed drastically the moment we moved from the city to the country. My boys went from not being able to play in the front yard without someone watching them every second they were out there to being able to run free for a half hour or more before I call for them.
“Boyyyys?” I yell from the porch.
“We’re here mama”, and I see two little heads peer out from behind a tree/at the end of the driveway/sitting on the fence/ digging a hole in the backyard.
The dream when we bought our farm was to see our little boys in their element, doing what boys do, and to be completely free.
But with their new found freedom comes testing. Testing how far they can get before someone notices, how loud they can yell before someone worries, how fast they can run before someone catches them, how scared mama will look when she runs from one end of the farm to the other in tears trying to find them thinking they’re lost in the woods when they’re really hiding behind an enormous spruce tree.
Freedom is scary. And it’s not something my boys have had in this capacity before. At just 3 and 5, they’re eager to run like the wind and of course the faster and stronger the better, but there’s a piece of me that’s still not entirely ready to allow them to have this much freedom that we’ve provided them with.
The freedom comes with a lot of groundwork set underneath it. The rules of the country are vastly different from the rules in the city and after a couple months of living here we’re still trying to balance it all out. I do know that at times they need to be kept close and held tight and that they both thrive through freedom within limits. When we have boundaries in place, rules and expectations set in love, that’s when they grow. It’s not an ‘all or nothing’ it’s how can we make it work so everyone is happy and can you (yes you, you tiny bright eyed 5 year old!) help us come up with something that works for everyone.
Giving children freedom to think, to control their environment (it is their life after all and we’re just here to help guide them and love them along the way), to make choices for themselves (assuming they’re mostly safe choices), and freedom to explore is a right that every child should have.
With the new school year underway I can’t help but think how important this move of ours was and how grateful I am that my boys can feel, really feel freedom. Being at school and having to behave a certain way, sit a certain way, talk and think a certain way is more than enough control for any little 5 year old. So our home? Home will always be our place to feel free.
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