- Maureen, “Teach them to enjoy the outdoors.” Tip #7
Enjoying the outdoors was not something so prevalent in my childhood. I was forced outside all the time, but “enjoying the outdoors” was something different. I’m glad Maureen mentioned it in tip #7.
Encouraging outdoor play was likely limited due to the fact I was heavily asthmatic. (Maybe that’s why fun has been an issue? Hmmmm) I couldn’t do much physically without a trip to the emergency room.
To further complicate matters, my Mom was extremely fearful of injury. She predicted injury or trouble almost every time I left the house. I would not dare try something new!
I remember hearing an adage, when a child has climbed a tree he will draw a different tree than a child who has never climbed a tree. I don’t know if there’s any truth to that, but I had never climbed a tree. I decided, my son would climb a tree! I grabbed up my baby and off we went!
I took a 2-year old Michael in my arms for a planned hike, picnic, and tree climbing. I smile as I recall my lack of understanding in every facet of my plan.
Michael was only 2! He hadn’t even mastered walking, but I was taking him on a hike. He certainly couldn’t climb, and the significance of a picnic in the woods would be lost on him, for sure! I was so ill-prepared, but how I tried!
With barely any concept of childhood development, this event did increase my knowledge. I recall I was angry with Michael as he wanted to stop ‘hiking.’ He was likely grabbing leaves or rocks, enjoying nature. There was no time for that, I had a plan! We were going to climb a tree!
Something within me fed an urgency to give Michael every experiences I could. I raced to unravel my personal damage, and hurried to make all things right.
Our hike was brief, likely minutes. We sat for a picnic, then we climbed our first tree! I still have a branch of it in his baby book. In some ways, we were growing up together. In every way we were experiencing childhood together.
At the same time, with a similar level of understanding, I put Michael on the teeter-totter. My god! He wasn’t strong enough to hold on, I now know. I jumped on the other side, eager to give this playground experience!
I hoisted him up, and down he came. I ran to him, picked him up, and sat bawling as I cradled him in the playground. I scolded myself relentlessly. What have I done? How did I not know? I could have killed my baby, and I could have! Sigh!
I look back sweetly on how hard I tried, sadly on how alone I felt, and tragically on how poorly prepared I was. In the end, I did my best to instill an appreciation for the outdoors. There is such fun to be had outside, so many adventures.
Many years later, at about age 7 Michael was a ‘country-kid.’ I’m happy he was able to play and climb. Sheila’s (Mom #7) family really enriched this experience.
Michael had a wonderful childhood. I think time spent playing outdoors can help us all to feel like kids again. Life really is in the simple things.
Thanks for the memories Maureen. I’m sure you have a much better grasp on age-appropriate activities, than did I!