How Much to Protect My Child
Buddha back when he was just known as Siddhartha Gautam, his father King Śuddhodana tried to shield him from all human suffering. That's a mighty challenge, especially since Siddhartha was married by age 16*. Ah, teenage love. Once, he fatefully encountered human suffering during his travels, it was crushing and depressing. It drove him to an ascetic lifestyle and in search of enlightenment.
I recently channeled the teachings of Buddha in my parenting.
Yesterday morning began like most others. I woke up and began making breakfast for my son Clark (a nice warm bottle) and myself (hard-boiled eggs and oatmeal). I left Clark square in the middle of the bed. He quite recently figured out rolling. He can roll in either directions. He's still mastering his technique, so it's not exactly smooth, but he seems to have a great time doing it.
I walked back to the bedroom, which isn't that far away, to check on Clark. I watched him continue to flip and roll ever closer to the edge. I realized there was a 99% chance that he was going to fall off the bed and onto the floor (about 12 inches below.) This was a watershed parenting moment. What kind of dad am I going to be? I had two choices. I could let him continue as he was and eventually fall or I could place him somewhere safe from harm for the time being.
I think this is what they they call a teachable moment? Am I the teacher or the student? I think I'm the student, but I'm not sure. If he fell, I assume such an event would fire up a few of the synapses in his brain that link cause to effect in his developing baby mind (Hey, why did I fall off the bed?) On the other hand, he could get hurt! Not badly, but enough to draw a few tears and a pouty face. If I just moved him out of harm's way, well then what? My job as his father is to keep him safe; however, I won't always be there every time he finds himself 12 inches from danger.Continued on the next page