Sunday, June 29, 2014

Dead Squirrel Season

I assure you, this squirrel
is neither dead nor heavenly.
He was just up on my
skylight this morning.
It's that time of year, when the adolescent squirrels are making their way in the world. On my commute I see so much roadkill.

These young furry critters spent time with their parents* and they have a certain amount of instincts, but they have precious little experience with automobiles. They dart when they should have dodged, and are flattened.

Human teenagers, I know, long for adventure, for trying out possibilities, and they are so very smart and full of hope.

What they sometimes lack, however, is the experience to consider all the possible consequences of their adventures. 

Here's where a network of trusted adults can help. The right question can nudge them to wider understandings, so they might have foresight rather than regretful hindsight. And sometimes we help develop boundaries, minimizing risks where we can, and sharing communal values that can last a lifetime. 

Growing up I was blessed to have family, teachers, and community advisers to work with me lovingly and respectfully. They let me mess up in a hundred little ways, and were there for me when I needed guidance.

And now I work with youth, helping to give them both the support and the space to make their way in the world. I know that we can never keep them all perfectly safe, but we do what we can.

*OK, I'll admit I don't know much about the family structure of squirrels. I solemnly swear that I will research that when I'm not so tired.

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