Walking Along a Wall

He is about four years old
and like most kids his age,
he is walking along the wall
above the footpath,
because it is there,
now coming to its end
where his mother is coaxing
him down with
‘Good boy, good boy’
and it is a parent’s
positive encouragement
with her love and care,

yet then she says,
‘Good parenting’
which surprises me,
this self-referencing as a
kind of paternal narcissism,
and I wonder if she has been
reading a book
on how to raise a child,
needing advice and help when
there isn’t any other in her life?

But no, we do not need
guidance on how to stop the
boy from falling off the wall
or telling him he is doing well
because this is instinct and
common sense,
whereas that one strange line
seems like some form of
absurd mantra from a
self-help scheme
in the extreme.

There are many things to learn
but we do it from experience,
and there are many things to do
to protect a child or help
them along in life
and a wall,
like that encouragement,
and there are many things you
just know not to let them do
like running across a road
or sticking a finger in a socket
or even taking tests when they
are still young and not
walking on the pavement provided,
or even older and getting lost
or running out of breath
and falling over into walls;

tests for example
on grammar and spelling and
punctuation which are built on
barriers dangerously high above
the ground, and not built on
solid foundations,
so you must not
let your child take these tests
that do not encourage them
or offer protection.

But then, as I go through this
to and fro of thinking,
and over-thinking,
and walking along the wall too
and recalling something I read,
a dire warning by someone
who claims they know best,
and tell me what I have to do,
perhaps there is a need
because ‘Good parenting’ isn’t a
complete sentence,
is it?

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