At the beach, a toddler walked behind her parents at the water’s edge. Whenever a wave reached high enough to touch her toes, she squealed and moved farther up the beach. As the water receded, she moved right back to the edge. Her parents stayed nearby – but in front of her, not behind her – communicating an air of nonchalance about her safety. I did notice, however, that at least one of them always had an eye on her.
When she stumbled, Dad held out his hand for her to grab, but she let go as soon as she felt confident. Not once did Mom or Dad pick her up and carry her (most likely kicking and screaming) to their destination. They let her set her own pace, but they were close enough to help if she needed it.
Here’s hoping they can repeat the performance in another ten years or so.