Test Subject V loves basketball. We live within a few blocks of at least five different basketball courts, so she has ample opportunity to watch the teenagers playing in the afternoons.
In the mornings, though, the courts are pretty dead, so My Colleague and I decided to get the kid a basketball of her own. You can see it in the pic above. She can’t dribble and her shots only go a few inches over her head, but we figured it’s never too early to instill a love of the game. And she loves it SO MUCH.
I’ve been impressed at how welcoming some of the older kids have been, too, when confronted with a one-and-a-half-year-old who wants nothing more than to get in on their game. They’re generally very good humored and encouraging.
We were talking with one such kid the other day, who I’d guess was— maybe a fifth grader? He looked a little bit like a young Lil Yachty. Really sweet kid, very gentle with V.
Anyway, a rebounding ball nearly hit V in the head. Little Lil Yachty said something along the lines of “Oh, we’ve gotta be careful! That ball nearly hit her!”
My reply, something I’ve been saying a lot lately, was “It’s okay, with kids this age, falling down and getting hit by things is how they learn.”
Little Lil Yachty got thoughtful for a sec. “You know, my sister says, when you fall down—that’s when you grow.” I was seriously gobsmacked at this moment of #KidWisdom.
And then, a couple days later, I came across this video from Vox about the Adventure Playground movement:
It’s something I hadn’t heard of before, but it really jibes with my own beliefs about children, and about what was advantageous and beneficial about my own youth as opposed to today’s. (For example, acceptance of greater risk, and allowing more autonomy and movement for kids.)
Which is of course not to say that everything was better when I was a kid back in the 80s. I am thrilled to see that today’s kids are much more nurturing of one another, seem to be less casually accepting of bullying, are much less constrained by toxic masculinity and the notion of limited roles for women and girls. I’m certainly not a reactionary.
But I’m trying to raise Test Subject V in an environment that isn’t so risk adverse, and where she doesn’t think that My Colleague and I will intervene whenever she hits a bump in the road at school or on the playground. (Not to say that I won’t go into full-on Papa Bear Advocate mode if needed. But I’m going to try to resist that as the default.)