Obedience is Overrated 

Mae doesn’t always follow along at story time. She often wants to sit in my lap and read her own book, and then chime in with the group when it interests her. 


ready to dance!

Mae’s favorite part of story time at our local library is when they sing this song “Hot Potato” and do hand gestures with it. When the librarian hits play and the music begins, Mae makes a sprint from my lap to the middle of the floor. She’s like a hippy at Merlefest. She does some of the suggested hand gestures but she spends most of the song spinning herself silly.

The other kids are not doing this.

Maybe some parents think I should stop her.

Unless she is in danger of hitting somebody, I’m letting her rip.

I can’t help but admire her spirit. She doesn’t care that she’s dancing differently or that all eyes are on her. She’s just doing what makes her happy. 

I try not to ever reprimand her because I might care for a moment what others think. 

Now if she stands in front of everyone and blocks their view during the story portion, then I’ll tell her to sit down, please. But if she’s really not into what we’re doing, we also should probably just leave.

I hear friends oh and ah over how “well-behaved” children are, and my mind goes to my college students. I have some students who don’t question anything, who want me to give them the “right” answer, and who have no idea why they are in college beyond it is what their parents told them they should do. They want to make A’s. They “have to.” I never hear them express what they “want to” learn or do. 

Having and keeping a spirited-child means sitting through epic meltdowns and long sessions of dress up while also searching for moss in the backyard. It means letting her mix play dough colors (so hard for me). I’m okay with that if it means my daughter will keep her creative, confident spirit. 

Mae painting on herself and wearing her favorite tutu inside out and as a tube top.

My goal isn’t to have an A student. My goal is to have a happy, curious human being. 


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