Today’s 10-Minute Tuesday post is on the prompt “Toddler”
Toddlers have a bad reputation. They’re said to wear out their mothers, challenge anyone in their way, and be impossibly hard to keep up with. They’re just learning to explore their world, so they wreck havoc wherever they go.
I have an 8-month-old grandson who has just started pulling up on everything and is beginning to cruise from furniture piece to person’s leg to couch, figuring out where it is he can go next. And, maybe it’s because I’m Nana now, but I think it’s the best thing ever.
Babies need to explore their world. It’s what has to happen in order for them to figure things out. They need to face challenges, they need to overcome those challenges on their own, and they need to test their boundaries.
Because I have my grandson 5 afternoons/evenings/nights a week, I get to help him navigate some of those challenges and learn to respect the boundaries. My 16-year-old daughter, who helps a lot with him, is fond of chanting “Choking hazard! Choking hazard!” if there is the slightest small thing that might end up in his mouth.
We are all aware of the dangers.
Before he even became mobile, we hauled the pool fence out of the attic, just in case someone should forget to latch a door and he would make his way to the pool deck. Having barriers and boundaries in place is wise, but cushioning his every tumble would just set him up to expect to never encounter a difficulty.
I keep him from pulling the cats’ tails while teaching him how to treat them nicely.
I keep a fence up around the pool, but take him swimming to allow him the joy of the water on a hot day.
I move games with small pieces while allowing him to touch and taste and explore those things that he does not yet know how to open.
Freedom within guidelines. This will help him grow and learn and develop in a safe environment without making him fearful that there’s danger around every corner.
God gives us guidelines as well, not to keep us from having fun, but to keep us safe while growing and learning and developing.
If the Son has set you free, you are free indeed (John 8:36), but do not use your freedom as an excuse to sin (Romans 6:15).
When I put up the pool fence for my grandson, it wasn’t so that I could say to him, “Ha! See that refreshing water? Looks fun, doesn’t it? Well, sorry! You can’t go in it!” No, that would be very mean of me. I put it up to keep him safe. He is a baby. He doesn’t know how to swim. If he were to wander into that water, he would drown. And that would be a tragedy for us all.
In the same way, God’s guidelines are not to keep us from having fun, but to actually give us a chance at abundant life.
We, like toddlers, want to move and explore and learn new things. It’s a joy to watch. But when we get close to those things that could hurt us, God is there to move us away. It’s the loving thing to do.
We diligently watch Zayne whenever he is with us, because at this point, though he is not yet a toddler, he is crawling around as quickly as he can, seeing what there is to see and what he can explore (read “get into”) next.
I will never stop watching him, because I love him to the moon and back and want him to be safe while still desiring that he experience as much of his little world as he can.