Just yesterday, we received yet another "he is fearless!" comment about Lukas. This comment is being heard around here almost as much as "Don't I know you from somewhere?" Yes, our boy is fun-loving, happy, full of energy, engaged. But fearless? After stopping to think we do have to admit there isn't much at this point in Luke's young life that scares him. Our boy approachs strangers with a smile and arms wide open. He dives right into a new environment without the least bit of hesitation. He climbs on play structures at local parks like a young monkey learning his native environs. Thankfully, he has learned to turn and climb down backwards most of the time. He does all these things with such energy and sense of thrill that it inspires the comment mentioned above. "He is fearless!"
Hopefully, his fearlessness reflects well on how Mrs. LIAYF and I have raised Lukas to this point. I do wonder, though, how much of his gusto relates to his nature and how much of it is attributed to our nurture of him. Sure we have provided a safe environment for him at home. And, like most parents, we have encouraged him to explore the new and interesting world around him, with us at his side to help him when he falls. Perhaps most little ones go through an energetic, fearless stage. Yet we see plenty of other toddlers his age who seem content to stay close to mom and dad. In contrast, when we put Lukas down in a store he often makes a bee-line to the nearest exit, not stopping to look back for assurances. We follow him to see how far he will go, but always end up grabbing him before he walks out the door. He is always moving as soon as we set him down.
Frankly that scares me a bit. I do not want to have that moment where I look away for a second in a crowed store, only to turn and discover that my child is missing. That is every parents' nightmare and I worry about it all the more with Luke's energy level. Mrs. LIAYF said that she was constantly wandering away as a child, so she and I do our best to help Lukas understand the dangers of wandering too far from us. However, he seems to have an inert curiosity and wanderlust, much like his mother had. A need to explore, to do and see. Yes, maybe even a fearlessness.
Since Lukas is our first child, we wonder if this is a phase that he is going through. Or can we expect this to be Lukas' personality to remain this way as he grows older? Will he grow into the type of young adult who straps on a parachute and base jumps from El Capitan? Or will he end up like his old man? Not afraid to try new things, as long as they are relatively safe. We want to encourage Luke to seize the day, while still understanding that there are risks involved. We will continue to be there for him, picking him up after he falls when we can, while helping him understand exactly how high he has climbed and how far down it is. All the while, hopefully instilling the correct understanding of the dangers involved. Because we won't always be there.
For those of you will older kids, how much did their personality change from when they were a toddler? S hould we brace ourselves for more bumps and bruises than average over the next several years? Give it to me straight, because this dad certainly is not fearless!