A tale of the playground

cautionaryA child I know has lately been obsessed with perfecting her skills on the monkey bars (she wasn’t tall enough to reach the bar until this year). Every recess for the past few months, she’s been out on the structure at her school, jumping and swinging and working on that upper body strength. One day her blistered palms gave out and started to bleed; she went crying into the office for a band aid, where the principal (kindly, but firmly) told her to lay off until her hands healed. She did – it took a week.

Over the weekend she proudly showed me how good she’s become. “I can jump to the third bar!” she proclaimed.

Today she missed, fell, and broke her left wrist. It hurt, and she was very scared, but she kept her head. After the ordeal of the emergency room was over, she reflected on the experience. “I learned a lesson,” she said. “DON’T jump to the third bar. Even though it’s so much fun!”

She has just turned nine, and I am so proud of her – first, for trying hard to meet her goals. And second, for being willing to learn from adversity.  She says she’ll be back on the monkey bars after the cast comes off. We’ll have to have a talk about the third bar, but if she decides she’s ready to reach for that height again once she heals, well – I’m not sure I’ll have the heart to stop her.

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