Today’s topic: the trampoline, fertile soil for lessons around our house.
We’ve only been a jumping house for just over three years. It was a Christmas present to the kids after much discussion and analytical consideration. Five kids. Lots of energy. One might think that a trampoline is just what the doctor ordered. Unless you’re married to Safety Boy. He’s a cute Safety Boy, but inherently predisposed to sniffing out danger from every angle. (Good thing, too. If it was left up to me – we would be find ourselves tangled in many a pickle.)
He thought long and hard, considered the liability, weighed the benefit and cratered to the stereo sound of young-uns needing to bounce. Suffice it to say…
we (with the help of grandparents searching for the best Christmas present ever) bought the Cadillac of trampolines. The AlleyOop double mat with extra-strong net and established well-defined rules met the requirements of Safety Boy.
Let the jumping begin!
So much fun. Tons of exercise. Oodles of friends and games. Until…. duh, duh, duhhhnn… Broken leg numero uno. Take one sister, a load of curiosity then add a well placed (but relatively innocent) double-bounce and voila – a two-year-old Future Hoarder of America wears a “yucky blue shoe” (that would be a cast) for a month.
New rules are instituted. No one is allowed to jump with anyone double their weight in size. Plus no more than two jumping at a time. Okay, so we know the best approach is only one jumper at a time. But let’s be realistic.
Months, even a couple years pass with nothing more than laughter (and many a sibling annoyance) filling the air. Until … duh, duh, duhhnnn… Breakage number two.
This time it was a memory-searing arm displacement that is still too close to the surface to forget. (My stomach hurts just thinking about it.)
Rather than get rid of the darn thing, more rules. Hmmm… and a couple lessons.
Lesson 1: Get Back On
It has been a glaring reminder to our last little bone breaker that when you fall off the horse, you’ve got to get right back on. It’s critical to face and overcome your fears. For this particular child, we have a bit of a road ahead of us on this one. But she’s slowly putting one foot in front of the other.
Lesson 2: Lean Into the Opportunities
Tonight, Jon came home to neighbor kids gleefully racing for the trampoline to join the fun. Rather than let our crew handle communicating and holding to the new rules, Jon raced in and read everyone the law. I sensed a bit of frustration with me, as he glanced my way with a “why aren’t you on top of this?” look. I waited until later to explain.
“I wanted them to walk that uncomfortable road of standing up for what they know is right, whether it’s met with agreement or you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me eye rolls. I think it’s important to let run that gambit as many of those as possible before they hit the more serious situations. The day is coming (or here, for at least one of them) when they’ll be telling someone they aren’t allowed to have liquor in our home, or they can’t ride with a driver who has been drinking, or – fill in the blank. Any chance they have to practice, even if it’s holding fast to the trampoline rules in front of friends who might think it’s okay, but who will probably laugh at them… maybe even walk away is worth it.
Close enough to control chaos, I wanted the kids to do it rather than me. Not only can we not be there to save them every time. They should hear and believe the message that we believe in and trust them to do it.”
He got it. We agreed to try to catch ourselves and capitalize on opportunities (even something lame like enforcing family trampoline rules) to let them lean into the uncomfortable situation of standing for what you know is right.
Who knew a trampoline could be so multi-use?
Thanks for walking the road with me.