I am rule follower, with few exceptions. I have a bit of a lead foot, but still generally won’t go more than nine miles per hour over the posted speed limit. I recycle, and force my kids and the people around me to do the same (as much as I am able). I color between the lines. There is the way you are supposed to do things, and that is how you do them.
And now I am a Mom…
We took the kids to mini golf last night. At two and a half, my poor sleepy daughter was regulated into her umbrella stoller and only able to give coaching (“hit the ball!”) advice from there. She took her restrictions fairly amicably for once, probably due to the help of all the sights and sounds on the course.
But my son, my beautiful, athletic, smart five and a half year old son, who had never played putt putt golf before in his life…
We stood at the first hole with him and demonstrated standing to the side of the ball, practicing a swing before hitting, and which direction to aim the bottom of the putter. He did as directed, and we celebrated each other’s successful shots, and played without keeping score…when we were playing below Jack Nicholson levels, we looked the other way.
On the second hole, he stood to the side as we had showed him, but held the putter backwards. I gently corrected him. And, at each hole, that putter was somehow always facing the wrong direction, and I corrected him each time.
By the fifth hole, he was standing diagonally to the ball, so his back leg would block an effective swing, holding the putter backwards. We showed him proper stance and putter placement again. And again.
But somewhere around the ninth hole, it hit me: he was having fun doing it his way. Fun! Wasn’t that why we were there? What difference really did it make if he did it “right”, especially after what was almost turning into nagging? Who else (that I see in the mirror every day) does it her way even though sometimes it is slower or not the norm sometimes (as long as it doesn’t break too many rules!)?
I took a breath. The most important thing, loving and accepting my son and letting him do what comes naturally for him–have fun! And, he did! He hit the ball with every imaginable club angle, from many creative positions, and we celebrated every time it eventually went in a hole (with or without our help).
Lessons in Mini Golf and loving my son just where he is…because he is my son.