My 9-month-old son is convinced he could ride his older sister’s bike— the shiny red one with training wheels and handbrakes— if we would just let him.
In reality the little push-along tricycle we do let him ride is really for a toddler twice his age. In fact, he rarely plays with “age-appropriate” toys. Like so many kids he’s already grasping for whatever is beyond his reach. My goal is to teach him something about reality without stifling his ambition.
In her book, The Brainy Bunch, homeschool mom Mona Lisa Harding says starting a college class can be a good way to cure boredom in a young teen. Seven of Harding’s children started taking college classes at age 12 or younger. Yet the mom of 10 says she and her husband, Kip, make sure the kids maintain age-appropriate social lives.
Farmer and author Joel Salatin would probably approve. In his book Folks, This Ain’t Normal, he argues that one of the most squandered resources is that of adolescent and teen energy. He says that youthful mischief simply wasn’t a problem in his family where kids learn, work, and play hard all day.
My mom held similar beliefs. One of my earliest memories is of plucking feathers off chickens as part of the butchering process. To most people it probably sounds gruesome, but I loved it. My memories of playing with age-appropriate toys are fairly fuzzy, but other memories are vivid. Like one crisp fall day when my grandpa taught me to use the gas-powered firewood splitter and my mom let cook supper, with her help.
That’s a good day when you’re 5 1/2-years-old.
Just like it’s a good day when you can reach the pedal when you’re nine-months-old.
Even if it’s only the pedal of a puny little tricycle.