Today I was reminded of the perfect design that God created for our family – spending each day raising our children. Little One and I were able to enjoy a few hours in the sunshine as we walked to a local playground. While chasing him around the lot, I noticed several lessons that were playing out before my eyes.
Education takes place all around us, not just in school buildings. Little One was exploring the world around him, interacting with strangers and soaking up some Vitamin D. He was learning about academic skills: counting objects, naming animals and stating colors; while also developing his character through: following directions, properly interacting with others and showing respect to a public area. Little One may not attend school in an assigned building, but make no mistake; this child IS being educated every day through various activities and interactions.
Take time to stop and enjoy the music. Little One is no stranger to music. He will often sing to himself, begin dancing when he hears a song, and even utilize his homemade musical instruments to start up a beat. It was no surprise that he ran over to the musical area of the playground and began to play the different pieces. How often do we take time to stop our busy lives and simply enjoy the music?
Stay true to you. We spent about 2 ½ hours at the playground and I am pretty sure that for half of that time, Little One trotted around playing with sticks. There was plenty of playground equipment all around us, yet he was instantly and continuously drawn to the sticks. Digging, flicking, carrying, tossing, dragging… it didn’t matter, it was all tons of fun with a stick. I pray that my son is always willing to enjoy life based on his interests and moral compass, no matter what is popular at that time. May his curiosity for how things operate continue to grow no matter what others around him say.
Take the time to relax. Although most of our trip was spent running around and enjoying the sticks, Little One instinctually knew that he should also take a few minutes to rest. When we first got on the swing, he was full of smiles and giggles. He was enjoying the moment. A few minutes passed and he continue to enjoy the moment, just in a more relaxed state. He began to gaze around the playground as he appeared to simply relax and take in the beauty of life. Such a gift to be able to listen to when your body tells you, “Okay, now pause and relax.”
Never give up. I’m nearly 100% convinced that as humans, we teach ourselves to give up in life. When I’m trying to open a new glass jar, I will turn it a few times, then I will try that handy gripper thing in the drawer and if that doesn’t work, I’m calling out for someone to come help. When do we stop trying repeatedly? And perhaps even more important, when do we stop having patience when we are struggling? Little One practiced taking a step up and down onto the mulch so many times that I lost count. He began by getting down on all fours and crawling up or down. Then he progressed to balancing with his butt high in the air to get up, while falling when going down. Eventually, he was intentionally going up and down the step while standing upward and cautiously focusing on the goal. It was so interesting to watch his determination, resilience and patience as he conquered this quest.
Don’t get discouraged when something seems wrong. I have no clue where this came from, nor what the exact reasoning was behind it, but Little One became quite surprised when he was waddling across the grassy field and he came across a small (like 2” diameter) patch of onion grass. When he saw it, he paused, said, “Ut oh,” and then proceeded on his journey by walking around the small patch. The grass blended in fairly well with the rest of the landscape, so I am not sure why it stood out to him, nor do I understand why it was an “ut oh.” However, even though he viewed it as something “wrong,” he did not get discouraged. He did avoid the patch, but then he happily went about his way and never looked back. How often do we walk away from something that went wrong (in our opinions) and never look back?
Ahmeli… that we remember the lessons from the playground as we go about our busy weeks.
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