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Short Stories for Children of All Ages: Thank you for not pushingPedagogical Project “The Joy of Reading”


Thank you for not pushing

Don’t handicap your children by making their lives easy.

Robert A. Heinlein


Hunt, creek, creek… grunt, creek, creek…

My legs swung back and forth. I was using all of my strength to get that swing into the heavens. It seemed impossible.

“Mom, can you give another push?” I whimpered.

“Are you kidding me?! You can do it. Just focus and keep pumping your legs.”

I looked around and saw all the other moms and dads in the park, pushing their little kids in the blazing heat of June. I wondered why my mom couldn’t just do the same. But I was never one to try and question her. I did all I could to avoid “the look”. You know, that look parental figures get in their eyes when they feel their authority is being questioned.

“Okay,” I mumbled. I didn’t think I could do it. But Mom never seemed to doubt me. I wrapped my small hands tightly around the metal chains, wiggled into position, tilted back and I was off.

“Now just keep pumping your legs back and forth kiddo! You’ve got this!” my mom encouraged me. It seemed like she wanted this more than I did. I didn’t want to let her down, so I kept at it. Eventually I was so high up in the blue sky, the tips of my shoes were playing tag with the clouds. A grin stretched across my face from one ear to the other. I had done the impossible. I had flown.

I jumped off the swing and dug my feet into the warm sand. “Mom! Did you see? Did you see?” I exclaimed.

“Of course I saw. I didn’t take my eyes off you for one second!” she smiled.

Back then, I didn’t understand why my mom made me do everything for myself. If I couldn’t get my swing going, why wouldn’t she just push me?

Throughout the years, my mother has given me the greatest gift a parent can give her child: tough love, freedom and independence. She has taught me how to face challenges myself. She has prepared me for my future. And she has shown me a great deal of love and compassion while being my teacher, two parents in one, and my best friend.

Everytime she heard the words “I can’t do it” a smile crossed her face because she knew I could. If she had pushed my swing, I never would have jumped off feeling so wonderfully accomplished.

 Christy Barge

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