I spent the week working with an inspiring group of people through Melbourne’s Slow School of Business. We spent the week stripping back our words and rebuilding stories of purpose. This is my story…
When I was 10 I saddled my pony, my mother stuffed two Mars Bars into my pocket and I rode out on a family farm larger than Melbourne; my adventures lasting all day. The rule to be home by dark.
Now I am the mother of ten year old Theodore and his brother Sebastian. Two inner city tweens –that crack of age of nine to 12 from childhood to teenage years. Teenagers in waiting. The world of parenting is packed with prescriptive actions, Wi-Fi blockers and scenarios of fear.
As parents we are fearful of a world that is unknown to us. I seek the courage of my mother to trust my tweens and their street smartness. The smartness of growing up in laneways leaking hookers, syringes and beatboys.
There were no streets in Western New South Wales.
What could possibly go wrong if I packed my boys off with Mar Bars for a day on their bikes? Be home by dark?
Sebastian as a 10 year old took himself to and from school, dragging his little brother through the laneways and trams of Melbourne. Within weeks, neighbourhood parents asked if he could take their children too.
Sebastian became the mother hen of Richmond – with his gaggle of winding kids.
My grit in Sebastian gave parent’s permission to trust. These parents turned their fear of the “white van man” into the courage of the tribe. Are you this parent?
From the fat open spaces of rural Australia to the everyday creak, rush and grunge of inner city Richmond I became the courageous parent. Our nanny resigned – the thought of drudging through the advertising, interviewing and finding someone else was so exhausting. So much easier to push the kids onto the streets!
Trusting my tweens can be tough. Mistakes are made, timelines are missed. The fearful playground parents relish in the regaling of horror stories of snatched children from sidewalks, flashings in the park and online antics.
By having faith in my boys, I have found the courage to let go of my fear; it has allowed me to watch the missteps of my sons, to stretch into the real world with one hand on the apron strings. I have given myself permission to let my sons have the freedom that my mother gave me to explore worlds and universes that didn’t exist five let alone 40 years ago.
It is this time of trust, courage and freedom that will be the strength behind the tricky teens and yucky youths.
Be courageous, be the brave parent.
23 August 2015
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