Of Little Boys and Forts

Since we were all home sick today with strep throat (thank goodness we all have antibiotics!), we took it easy. We stayed in pajamas. We had surprise chicken noodle soup delivered to our door from a friend. We watched Disney’s version of Robin Hood. And I did a lot of reading aloud to the boys. One of the stories I read was about Huey, Dewey, and Louie building a fort around Uncle Donald. I thought making our own fort would be an excellent way to spend the day.

Fort building has never been one a forte of mine, but I had a vision for a grand fort that we’d play in all day. Maybe we’d even eat lunch in there for fun. I envisioned hours of fun. I got out some chairs and sheets and blankets, and constructed a fairly modest yet still pretty awesome fort for the boys in our living room.

20160325_085939It fit all three of us sitting up. It had a secret entrance over on the far side. I was pretty excited.

After I got out the boys played happily in it for about 30 seconds.

20160325_090130Then they constructed their own fort on Caleb’s swing:

20160325_090434They said they liked theirs way better.

I have to admit at first I was pretty annoyed. How could they like theirs better than mine? Come on! Why do I even try?

But I thought some more and it started to make sense. The fort I built didn’t really have much of them in it. I did everything. The fort they built was theirs. They had ownership in it. As a teacher, my colleagues and I always use the phrase “let go of outcomes” in our lesson planning. Maybe I need to apply that to motherhood. Maybe the best fort isn’t the one I envision, but the best fort comes from the experience of them getting to build it themselves.

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