Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down

Children "have to fall a lot and get back up again." --- Dr. Ken Ginsburg
Kate Greenaway 188
"Ring-around-the-rosy, pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes, we all fall down."  In this ubiquitous children's game, kids clasp hands, circle, and tumble to the ground at rhyme's end. 
Dr. Ginsburg (Photo Tom Gralish)

David Costello, Headmaster of St. Peter's School asks parents for a show of hands, "How many of you want your children to be good problem solvers?"
Most every hand in the room is raised.  "Now," he continues, "How many of you want your children to have problems?"  The room becomes still.  Costello smiles.  "Exactly.  We want our children to be capable, but insulate them from painful experiences. The only way to become a good problem solver is by solving 
 problems." . 

Dr. Ken Ginsburg's new book on teen resilience encourages parents to balance protectiveness against  kids' need to explore the world beyond the family car.  Children need to make their own decisions, their own mistakes, in order to learn from them.  To gain the confidence to move about the world on their own.  To become resilient. 

Very valuable insight as I watched lifeguards fish my son and his fellow kayakers out of the Cape May surf.  One teen, Jacob, had been knocked overboard.  His paddle floated away.  Buffeted by waves, Jacob was unable to clamber back into the kayak. My son stayed with him, retrieved the paddle.  But the riptides pulled them out to sea.  The lifeguards hauled them in to a distant beach.  They hiked back to us drenched, sandy, kayaks in tow..  Swallowing  several less measured responses I smiled, "All's well that ends well. Great the way you guys stuck together."  Because remember, as painful as it is to see them fall: each game of Ring-around the-Rosy ends the same way.  Children pick themselves up.  Dust themselves off.  And start all over again..  

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