Wild and free.
What does it mean to you when you think of the expression used in relation to our children today? Do you think of "free range parenting" where you bring your child to the park and let them run completely free without making sure they don't fall off the slide or run out of the entrance? Or do you think of a wild child who needs to be tamed with discipline or medication? Or perhaps you think of an annoying episode with a child who is too loud or too rambunctious? Or a kid with a stick who is pretending their stick is a magical wand while they hunt for bears in the "forest" in their rain boots? Or maybe you just think of a kid having fun and being free. There are so many ways that the term can be used and interpreted.
When I think of the expression wild and free, I think of the kid with the stick.
I think of a child with a vivid imagination who is running through a few trees and pretending they are chasing fairies and bears. I think of a child who has mud on their clothes and dirt under their nails. I think of a child who is allowed to be a child without being hindered by the fear of getting dirty, making a mess or being disruptive. I think of a child who isn't held back with a label or made tame with a medication.
A child whose imagination and spirit runs wild.
A child who is free in the universe of fairies, trains, bears, cookies and make believe.
A child who is free to explore, free to play and free to be a child.
Wild and free means to me, that children are being children without distractions. They are given guidance, discipline, boundaries and ideas in the simplest and best manner we know how, but not enough to tame them from exploring the world and being a child.
Wild and free means we don't worry about muddy feet jumping in mud puddles or spots of dirt on our little girl's clothes, as those are just moments of a wonderful childhood. We don't fret over the spilled milk or the drawings that made their ways onto the walls from a little soul who didn't know any better.
It's not about shuffling them from extra curricular activity to another one constantly then running home to do homework before bed, each and every school night. Where are the days of coming home from school and playing until the sun goes down for a little while? Where are the days of coming home and putting on play clothes after a lesson of homework and a yummy snack have taken place?
Wild and free means running through the garden hose instead of playing a video game or creating a fort instead of sitting on the sofa. It's the task of feeding the imagination and the world of play. It's acting like you, the parent, are a five year old again as you run through the sprinklers in your clothes with your children after work.
That's wild and free.
It isn't letting your children just go wild. And it surely isn't about giving them loads of freedom that can harm or misguide them without some sort of boundaries, but it is all about being wild and free with every moment you can.
As adults we like to say that life is too short not to "live it up." Just remember, that while the days are long, the years are short with our children. Let's let our children "live it up" and enjoy the summer days, the afternoon rain showers, the dirt and the blanket forts. Let's let them be children of the yester years more often than letting them be children of the electronic, busy modern life. Those things are great for quiet times here and there or for sick, rainy days, but when the suns out and the birds are chirping, let's be free.
As parents there are too many things to worry about as we go along. Did we choose the right foods for our children, did we discipline the right way, is our kid's birthday party fancy enough to keep up with the Pinterest pins we see and did our kid's come home to a gluten free, soy free homemade cookie. There is simply too much to ponder at times, so just remember to let them be little and to enjoy it with them. If we are screwing up in other areas of parenthood, at least we can run through the sprinklers with them (and chances are that you're totally not screwing up).
Let's remember to let our children be children. Let's let them be Wild and Free as they enjoy their childhood and their sunny days. Let's let them be the Kings, Gypsies, Fairies, Teachers, Doctors and Mommies of tomorrow.
After all, they only have one childhood to remember, and we only have now to run through the sprinklers with our babies.
Enjoy it, Mama.