Let them be kids

When I was about 8 years old I stepped on a rusty nail.  I was barefooted and running with my friends and I will never forget that day.  While I was usually a careful child and always made sure to wear shoes, this day I decided it was too hot to bother wearing any.  I suddenly became a dare devil and wanted to join all my other barefooted peers.  Talk about ironic.  That one day I went barefooted, I stabbed my foot with a rusty nail.  It went all the way through!

I was shocked, I don't believe I cried much or any. I can't quite remember.  I can only remember seeing so much blood coming out.  I may have gotten dizzy just looking at it but I didn't let it get to me.  One of my friends (or cousin) ran to find my grand mother who was able to help me.  I was literally stuck to the board that had the nail on it so I couldn't go anywhere and about this time I began to feel pain.  I was tough, I endured it, I had no choice.  I wanted to be free and run wild didn't I?  Well, now I was paying the price.

That night I was taken to the doctor who gave me a tetanus shot, on my foot.   Talk about adding pain to injury.  I stuck a nail through my toe and now a needle was going through my foot!  It just wasn't my day.  Can I say this forever changed my play pattern?  Never!  No way, it only allowed me to feel I had conquered this giant hurdle.  I was actually proud of myself, I was a warrior.  I was surviving childhood one toe stabbing at a time.
My mother always let us play and be kids. Almost always.  Sure I was raised on a completely different time than mine are today.  There was no such thing as fear of the kind we have now.  There were some dangers out there, like rusty nails, but more than anything we were allowed to be kids. 
I learned this lesson.  Well, actually I enjoyed this lesson and loved it.  I can't give my children the type of childhood I lived, I wish, but I can only come something close to it.  I let them play with dirt and pick up bugs and lick rocks.  I let them! I do.  I did and I grew up just fine.  I have eased up a bit on my over-mothering and have decided to let my children be children.  This is their one chance to be whoever the heck they want and have fun at it.  I miss those times for sure and now I want my girls to have that too.

Not only is playing fun and great exercise, research shows this is also good for their microbiome! Recently I have become quite thrilled over the fact that we have such a thing as a microbiome.  Well, turns out biodiversity comes from acquiring different kinds of organisms in our gut that provide health benefits.  And the cool thing is it all starts in our childhood.  The more diverse our microbiome is, the better. Playing with dirt is actually good for our children's health so this is what you call a win/win situation.  

So let them be kids but just watch out for rusty things.  

Lorena Frith

Lifestyle Photographer in the Houston, Tx area.

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