Our children no longer learn how to read
the Great Book of Nature
from their own direct experience or how to interact creatively
with the seasonal transformations of the planet.
They seldom learn where their water comes from or where it goes.
We no longer coordinate our human celebration with
the great liturgy of the heavens.
Summer is over and the water is so cold it makes you worry about catching a cold if you were to go in and you know how upset the kids could be about their freezing clothes because they got wet in the water and we have no towels or dry clothes. I would be dishonest if I said that didn't sound like a scenario to avoid.
My brother takes off his shoes and starts walking around in the water. He says it is freezing and hopes he doesn't get too wet, but that was it, no fear, no hesitation, and accepts there may be consequences of getting wet, but hey man, whats a little cold?
Amaya squealed when I told her to go for it and to only try to keep her pants dry since we didn't have a change of clothes and were 45 minutes away from home. Suffice to say, her feet got stuck in the mucky sand and she fell backwards completely soaking all of her clothes. You know what happened next?
She cried/laughed more because she was so cold and then played for another half hour.
Ricky helped her back up to the barn (long walk across a field, up a steep rock path and down a long and windy driveway in which she laughed hysterically and repeated "Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow..." the whole time) then she laid in a blanket for half an hour while he put her clothes through the dryer, which smelled a little like lake water when she put them back on.
Not wanting a ton more laundry and fearing a 45 minute car ride home with a freezing crying child who might then get a cold is an understandable feeling, but these are not guaranteed consequences, and maybe even they are things we could be okay with if they did happen, because the smile and laughter that erupted from Amaya, and Milo while he watched his big sister in the water,
was totally worth that risk.
We have more books in our house about nature than any subject, but how much can we learn about and truly comprehend something without experiencing it firsthand?My brother wasn't worried about how the kids might react or feel, not to say he didn't care but he didn't have fear. That allowed such a great moment with the kids that I think most people would miss (hey, I didn't jump into the water that day either). I think Zeke and I encourage a pretty decent amount of dirt (you should see our house), play, falling, and letting the kids experience so they can learn their own consequences of their actions but both of us have times where we feel like things are just a little too much in the moment and we feel so grateful to be in the presence of someone who encourages similar ideals of living and doesn't limit experiences out of fear of consequences or what other people might think or how they think kids "should" act. It's essential for kids to be loud, creative, dirty, adventurous, cold, tired, bored, uncomfortable, curious and everything else.
My brother is pretty cool and I'm thankful for the other day at the lake with him.
Super appreciating my brother today.
I'm so glad you're you.