For months, our little boy and girl took the same bike route: left at the stop sign near our house, down past the neighbors’ houses, up the winding street, and down the alley back home.
But then, something happened. One day, they didn’twant to turn left at the stop sign. They wanted to cross the street. And so, we did.
Ever since that day, our little bike route has doubled in size. New sidewalks to explore, new neighbors to meet, new trees to rest under.
And that’s how it will happen, I realized. Our little kids will grow up, oftentimes without any overt encouragement from Mommy and Daddy. Their worlds will expand, their confidence will grow, and their independence will emerge.
It’s amazing that, while our kids expand their circles daily, we — the adults — find reasons to contract our own circles. The busy-ness of life threatens to choke our sense of exploration, our sense of adventure. We’re too busy to meet new friends, explore new places, or even try a different route home from work (or so we tell ourselves).
But maybe we should take a cue from our kids. Maybe we should go past the stop sign and see what awaits us. Maybe we’re not done growing either.
It’s cliched, but a big world is out there for us too. We just need to be as courageous as our children.