Today was another one of those glorious days that you look forward to all winter long. Blue skies, beautiful weather, snow almost melted. Like I said, glorious. Since everyone is feeling better, I decided that I was not going to let this day go to waste.
After Devin’s art class, I took all the kids (minus Dillon) to Lehigh Parkway, which is five minutes from our house and has an amazing bike trail that I wanted to walk.
We set off, and 30 seconds into our trek, the kids wanted to stop and collect some pine cones that they saw.
I gave them a few minutes, then announced that it was time to move on. That declaration was met with a few sighs, but they begrudgingly trudged on. After a few more minutes, they wanted to walk up to the water and take a closer look. This time I sighed, but I relented and told them to hurry up.
Again, I hurried them along, so we could continue our walk. Behind me I kept hearing little mumblings of This is no fun, Walks are boring, I want to play. I’ll admit that, at first, I was a little irritated. After all, I was doing this for them, right?
That’s when it hit me. I have been worried, more than a few times, that maybe my kids aren’t learning enough. More than anything, I want my kids to feel confident to pursue anything that interests them. Anything at all. So there I was attempting to quash their natural curiosity about the world around them, so that I could accomplish what I had set out to do. It was like someone screamed in my ear, “What are you doing?? Let them run. Let them explore. You’re breaking their spirits!”
I took a deep breath and let them take the lead from there. It was amazing. They climbed “mountains” (actually big hills), picked wild onions, and discovered moss growing on rocks. This led to a conversation about how moss does not need soil to grow. Bailey pulled it off of a rock and studied the underside of it. We talked about the root-like threads that were there that held it in place. He was so interested in this that he brought it home with him. They looked for tadpoles- nothing yet- and tried to identify animal footprints in the snow. This evolved into a discussion about how sometimes tracks in the snow can be misidentified because the snow melt makes tracks look much larger than they actually are. We looked for signs of new leaves growing on trees- also nothing yet- and deciphered between evergreens and deciduous trees.
Eventually, Summer started to get tired and London had to go to the bathroom, so we headed back to the parking lot. They played on the hill there, rolling down the hill again and again. Finally, we went home.
Frankly, I was pooped, but the kids were far from finished. While I made dinner, Arianna, Caollin, London, Bailey, and Luke jumped on the trampoline for a while (I got a few jumps in, too :)); then Caollin went in and reappeared wearing a dress- Time to play Little House on the Prairie! Inside, Devin decided to try to make sushi for the first time.
My point in all this? Sometimes watching and waiting for your kids to do something can be frustrating and worrying. You may wonder when something is going to happen. You know that old saying- “A watched pot never boils.”? I think it applies here, too. Sometimes the most amazing things will happen when you least expect them. I didn’t take them out for a field trip today. I wanted to go for a walk, and that was really my sole purpose for going out. I let my guard down, and BOOM, they decided to do that something I’ve been waiting for- when I wasn’t looking!
So if you’re feeling fretful that your kids seem to be doing nothing, my advice to you? Stop. Take a deep breath. Stop expecting things to happen. Just know that they will, and leave it at that. Because, sometimes, maybe it’s easier than you thought.
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