Recently, I had a flashback. My son and I were in the car after preschool, and I was interrogating him about his day. I use the word interrogate deliberately. I still remember how hard it was to get accurate information out of that kid!
My main goal was to find out this: Was he happy? Were people nice? Did his teacher properly appreciate his brilliance? Did anyone make him cry? Was he unjustly accused of any preschool crimes that day?
My witness was rarely cooperative. Good, fine, okay — these were the words I usually got, plus very convoluted tales about Legos and Power Rangers. I didn’t realize it at the time, but looking back, I see I was attempting to rescue my son, right any wrongs, and make his preschool experience happy and easy. Happy and easy, these were my wishes for him back then. Fortunately, this is not what he ever wanted for himself. As always, children show you everything you need to know.
Flash forward to today. I texted my son, now a confident and resilient college freshman, and asked him if he ever wished I intervened more or rescued him. I was pleased but not especially surprised that he emphatically responded NO. Despite my early inclinations, I was not the mom who dropped everything to run to the school with forgotten homework assignments or band instruments or lunches. Like my children, I have changed and I have grown.
I used to hate wind. Unless I’m on a sailboat, I try to avoid it at all costs. It feels unpleasant, and it can destroy things. A gentle spring breeze? Sure. An ocean breeze on a hot day? Delightful. But cold, rainy 30 mph wind? Yuck.
Years ago, I heard a speaker talk about the Biosphere 2 project, and it changed my thoughts on wind forever. I still don’t like it, but I respect its place in nature now.
There are many beneficial affects posed by wind for plants. Wind helps to pollinate many species of plants, spread seeds, remove harmful gasses, bring in many species of animals that are wind-dispersed, and many other forces. Wind is also necessary for creating hardy and strong trees. When it was first created, there was no wind inside of Biosphere 2. Plants grew relatively quickly, but they frequently fell over before they were of reproductive age. After some intensive observations and experimentation, it was determined that the lack of wind created trees with much softer wood than that species would normally make in the wild. They grew more quickly than they did in the wild, but they were harmed in the long run as a consequence. — By Dr. James A. Danoff-Burg, Columbia University
It is one of those things I think of often. While it’s only human to want to avoid the wind (adversity) in life, the reality is that without it, we would be artificially inflated and weak like a tree in Biosphere 2. If we don’t grow up bending and strengthening with the wind, once we are big, the tiniest little breeze will be able to knock us over and completely destroy us. I want my children to have happy and easy lives, but I also want them to be brave and strong. Attempting to shelter children from any wind will only harm them in the long run; a little wind is good for us all. When times are tough, I try to remember this.