Today was one of those fall days where the winds is blowing and leaves are falling like large snowflakes to the grown. The yard is filled with large multi-colored brittle flakes we call leaves. After dinner, I wandered outside with my rake and started making piles. My 4 year old twins came running out full of excitement and energy. They wanted to help. My first thought was NO. It won’t get done and they will make a mess. But, I can’t resist my son’s PLEASE, with his sister chiming in, in support.
After making sure they each had a rake, well “their” rake. We started making piles. They enjoyed helping me. As the pile got larger, they did enjoy taking turns jumping in and throwing the leaves in the air. What 4 year old or for that matter child wouldn’t. After taking turns, they would rake the pile back up. When it came time to bag the pile they would help by picking up the few leaves that would fit in their small hands in throw them at the bag. The leaves frequently missed their mark, and they would try again. Eager to help out daddy.
After helping a bit they wander to a different area of the yard to play. As I continued to rake the leaves I thought about how eager my children, all children are to help out. So often, adults given in to their gut reaction to turn away their help, because it will slow down the process. Adults just want to get the job done, kids like to have fun doing the job.
When I survey my neighborhood, I don’t see many families out doing yard work. It is either a lone adult or a company doing the work, even in the houses with teenaged children.
Are adults taking away prime learning opportunities from their children today? Do we focus to much on finishing the job we forget to enjoy the journey and on that journey teach our children?
I think about my students who are living in situations where parents either don’t have time to teach them the lessons that really matter in life or have to act like parents themselves.
Take time to rake the leaves with a child, It will make your life and theirs more fulfilled. Even if it takes a bit longer!