“You may swim out to that rock, and then come back.”
“You may run to that tree, but that’s all. Then come back.”
“You may climb to that limb, but then come down.”
We hear this all the time. And we probably say this all the time to our children. We say it without thinking.
But did we ever think about these words? Did we ever reflect on this philosophy and socialization tactic?
What if we were to erase this micro-managing parenting style? What if being immersed in a world of limitations like this actually affects our children’s psyches and souls and lives, as we are molding them into little robots who operate in a tank of capped limitations their whole lives?
What if hearing these words and being socialized amongst this control caps off our belief in ourselves and our children? What if we only go so far in life because we are raised that way?
“Don’t swim past that rock.” That can easily be translated to “Don’t follow your dreams. Stay in your safe cubicle. Don’t test yourself. Do less, not more.”
And the worst, “Only do what society says,” and, “Only go as far as everyone else.” Essentially this is saying “Don’t be yourself. Don’t do what you dream. Don’t trust yourself.”
And we never do.
We end up never knowing how strong and capable we actually are. We never get that sensation of awe with ourselves, of pride and accomplishment, and challenge and inner strength and belief and faith and overcoming life. We repeat the cycle by raising our children this same way, capping their limitations and achievements and happiness in life as well. It is a vicious cycle.
Remember that feeling we get when we think we can only swim out to that rock, because we have grown up 30 years being told that’s as far as we could go? But one day, under the bright sun, in some turquoise crystal blue water, we swim farther than that rock. We swim and swim and it feels so good. We have passed the rock, we have challenged what we have been told.
We are free-thinking.
We are brave and strong, and free, and really good swimmers, and that sun feels really good.
We can do so much more than we know. We can swim so far, if only we had known this years ago, we would have been swimming past that rock for the last 20 years, no matter what mom and dad said.
“Stop at the rock and come back.” Bullsh*t.
So imagine raising the next generation to not live this way. Imagine raising them to not be void of this adulthood sensation of swimming passed the rock for the first time, but rather, growing up knowing that they can swim as far as they want.
This is the revolution of no fear parenting.
Ever since my daughter was very little, she was an adventurer like me. Two weeks old at the beach, on the sandy blanket, feeling that sand, becoming one with it. Four months old in the dirt. I didn’t keep her protected from the elements. I facilitated her embracing them. I didn’t keep a boundary between life inside and outside, or the life we want and the life we should have, and the dreams we have but the life we actually do.
Through no fear parenting she is learning that she can do anything, believe anything and create anything she wants to. She can follow dreams, be strong, know her own limits and challenge her soul. She knows the beauty of self-regulation and the pride in accomplishing a personal goal. Her life is not set out for her by me. She can swim, climb, run, believe, and love as far and as high and as much as her little being is capable of.
And because of this, she has done extraordinary things at her age that others don’t know their children can do—like free diving at age five.
This is because I do not impart my own fears onto her. I am very careful not to set limitations based on my own fears. Because this is what it all comes down to: our own fears of life, of the ocean, of others, of ourselves, of society. We put our fears onto our children, never giving them a fair shot at this thing called life.
We tell them how far they can swim, never knowing that there is a burning desire inside their soul to swim farther, to let it out, to reach a limit, to overcome a blockade. Never knowing how toxic these words are and this perspective is. These are the very lessons that are so critical to surviving this life:
Strength, perseverance, challenge, success, accomplishment, dreams, happiness, passion, self-awareness, confidence.
Some good, some bad, but all leading to a balanced, healthy adult who is aware of themselves and their place. One who is in touch with their emotions and knows what they are personally capable of and what they personally desire for themselves and for others.
Those who swim passed the rocks and run past the trees and follow dreams and change the world.
Those who have figured out the secrets of life, of inner-happiness and soul flow and balanced being.
Those who trust themselves and their decisions and self-imposed abilities or limitations.
A strong person inside and out. Molded by long swims passed rocks on the outside as well as on the inside. Seeing the world in a whole new light of cans and wills instead of cant’s and don’ts.
Let your kids be free. Test this theory out. Watch them for sure. But don’t hawk over them. Let them become themselves. Let them know themselves. Let them swim as far as they can one day. Be there to catch them when they fall, but let them try.
Don’t tell them how far to run. Instead, maybe run with them, and see how far they can go. Without thinking something bad will happen. Remove your fears. Think of all the good that will happen inside of their little bodies and souls. They are capable of so much. They will amaze you. Short-term accomplishments and life-long perspective shift.
And it’s their right to be free. To develop their own fears, and not inherit ours.
They don’t deserve our hand-me-downs. They don’t deserve our emotional baggage or toxic memories or understanding that a world operates on a plate of limitations and frustrations and dream-avoidance. They are new.
They should be free to explore and see and smell and experience and swim and run and climb and play and learn and love and dream in their own way. Inside and out. They deserve to feel inner strength and confidence and beauty at a young age. They deserve to swim passed rocks. And learn from mistakes. And love the universe without our judgments and prejudices. And become extraordinary little people with their own thoughts and feelings and dreams and freedoms and happinesses. And maybe even their own fears.
They deserve real life. And we deserve to watch them live.
Parenting through no fear.
Join the revolution.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Crystal Blue
Volunteer Editor: Kim Haas / Editor: Travis May
Photos: Author’s own.