The last summer day at the lake. I know from tomorrow on it will be autumn. I enjoy the sunshine and for the end of September the lake is still incredibly warm.
A mother with a little daughter comes to the relatively empty shore. She is maximum 4-5 years old. The little thing looks like a princess – long blond and curly hair and a lovely summer dress. The mother takes off her daughter’s shoes and socks and the little one walks enthusiastically to the water.
And then the mother starts giving instructions
“Sophie be careful”
“Sophie, not so far into the water, you can’t swim” – the girl is ankle-deep in the water and the lake is very shallow at this point.
“Sophie, watch out! A swan is coming, you better get away from there”
“Sophie, don’t climb the tree” – the tree lies on the bank
“Sophie, not so far into the water you can’t swim”
“Sophie, don’t throw stones”
“Sophie, come over here and sit on the blanket”
and just like that it went on endlessly. The mother sat the whole time on a blanket, which she had spread out.
After a while the words almost hurt me. So many prohibitions and instructions on what not to do or what not to do. But the little thing did not follow most of the instructions. She was full of zest for action and discovery and a swan obviously didn’t scare her. I would have loved to help her climb or walk with her through the water on the shore but this could be considered an interference in her upbringing and so I decided to let it be. I was glad when they left after not too long. I was glad that I was able to try things out in my childhood and got a scratch here and there. I do not think much of prohibitions in this respect.
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