Erecting Fences

Erecting fences is a lot like setting limits and boundaries for our children.

There is a small child. Let’s say he’s three years old. He’s playing in his backyard, in his sandbox. Beyond his sandbox is the rest of his backyard. A sidewalk runs parallel to his yard. People are walking and jogging on the sidewalk. Next to the sidewalk is a road. Cars, buses and motorcycles noisily speed down that road. On the other side of the road is a park. Groups of kids are playing in the park. Next to the park is a group of trees, a forest in appearance. Hooting owls, cawing birds and other noises emanate from that forest. The boy is trying to play in his sandbox but his attention is drawn to all of the activity beyond it.

There is another boy, a similar three year old. He is also playing in his backyard, in his sandbox. The rest of his backyard is also just past his sandbox. But this boy has a fence around his yard. The fence surrounds his space, intending on keeping this young boy safely in his yard. On the other side of the fence is the same sidewalk with its walkers and joggers. The road still has its noisy cars, buses and motorcycles. The park and its joyful children are still playing next to the road. And the forest of trees still house the noisy birds.

This boy finds the experience of playing in his sandbox very different from the first boy. This boy is able to keep his attention on the task of playing in his sandbox. What’s the difference? He has a fence around his yard, a fence that is not only keeping him safely in his yard but is also keeping the other elements out of his yard.

Setting limits and boundaries for our children is a lot like erecting fences.

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May 1, 2010. Uncategorized.

3 Comments

  1. Erin replied:

    I agree with this analogy. It is necessary to have boundaries in place in order to help children focus on the important pieces for their life at that time. It can make children feel more secure or safe. They will eventually be able to experience other things, but the only exploration at this age that is necessary is the sandbox.
    Teachers need to find the best way to put up boundaries that will help students learn the task at hand and not get bogged down by other activities that will be covered at another time.

  2. Tobi Fabian replied:

    This is a very good analogy. Boundaries have two purposes: to keep unwanted things out and wanted things in. Another great lesson I learned from a camp executive director that I worked for many years ago was that if you have a maverick (type of student) you don’t put a noose around his neck to get control- just build a bigger corral!

  3. Dave Hoehl replied:

    This is a very good analogy. Boundaries have two purposes: to keep unwanted things out and wanted things in. Another great lesson I learned from a camp executive director that I worked for many years ago was that if you have a maverick (type of student) you don’t put a noose around his neck to get control- just build a bigger corral!

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