Proverbs 3:21 “My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight;”
I’d have to say, that overall, I am a pretty laid back mom. That being said, I did over-react at the first time I really learned about independent play. Since her brother hadn’t been born yet, I had pretty comfortably settled into the playmate mode with our young daughter. And then I was 9months huge and hormonal. I actually climbed a playground at a fast food joint, caught a vision of me getting stuck in a tube and a sweaty, scared EMT delivering my baby. That was enough for me to pull the plug on the “always fun and ready to play mom.” The exhaustion and reality set in and I just couldn’t. I remember anxiously googling “independent play – toddler” during an online search one Sunday afternoon. I needed some convincing that independent play each day wouldn’t land me in DFACS for neglect, that I wasn’t assuredly stunting her development because Mommy was lame and just couldn’t build with blocks, play store, or take care of another dolly. (I quickly got over those insecurities. It is amazing what confidence you gain in otherwise troubling concepts when you…are…just…so…tired… 🙂
So, I have grown in celebrating independent play. But of course, its not like I drop her off in the middle of main street, or give her a bucket of knives. At the onset, I had “organized, appropriately placed areas at her level” to encourage such, independent play (Just like the website said.) And now, when independent play is needed (for her or me), its more like “go find something to do.” But I still maintain a general awareness of what’s going on in her world.
Before I knew God personally, I pictured him as the epitome of a micro-manager. I reckoned that He sat up in Heaven and ’tisked-tisked’ all the wrong doing in the world and decided who would get good stuff and who would get destroyed. I figured He was kind of like the Mac-Daddy of Santa Claus, always having a list, always checking it twice, always knowing who was naughty and who was nice. But instead of overseeing the making of toys, He oversaw the world.
Now, I think differently. Considering all the way back to the Garden, God didn’t micro-manage Adam and Eve. He didn’t ask for a progress report by 10:00am reviewing all the work that had been done including confirmation that no forbidden fruit had been consumed. In fact, how interesting that God, all knowing, didn’t intervene when the serpent sweet talked Eve into sin. Surely God knew, and He chose to not intervene preventatively. I think God is a proponent of independent play.
Independent play fosters the ability to develop a sense of judgment and discernment. These are qualities that the scriptures tell us to preserve – hold onto- to not let out of our sight. How are we to develop this ability if we are not first challenged to make judgments and discernments? Sure, it is hard when we watch our loved ones make poor choices and the consequences that ensue. We can love, we can pray, we can counsel, we can set the example. Particularly with our children, we should do all fervently. But at the end of the day, each individual is challenged to pursue and maintain a moral compass that points to sound judgment and discernment. Sometimes that compass is best found when only that individual is the one looking for it.