…….For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
I know both how to be abased, and how to abound; every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
Philippians 4: 11-12
I have never thought of myself as a discontented person by nature, but in my headlong rush to raise super-kids I began to focus on all the things I wasn’t able to do with them. The museums I didn’t take them to, the educational activities I never did, the handmade toys I never made them, the workbook pages we never filled out, the dollhouse I never built, the trips we didn’t take. My question each morning had become “How can I fit in more?”
A visit from a fellow AO mom shook me out of my discontented focus. I had listened with envy as she described their current life, in which extensive traveling and lots of museums featured prominently. But as we watched our children examining a mud-turtle in an aquarium stuffed under a tree, she made a brief comment about how I never needed to worry about fitting Nature Study into my day. With that single innocuous comment she triggered a shift in my focus, and I am learning to embrace the opportunities our life presents rather than fret about the opportunities I don’t have.
There’s a lot of things my children won’t do that I thought should be part of any childhood.
- Visit art museums
- Go shopping at actual stores (It’s all Walmart and Amazon here….)
- Know what a dump truck is
- Walk through Longwood Gardens
- Watch The Scarlet Pimpernel with their aunts
- Identify various types of cars, trucks and random machinery
- Visit historic battlefields
- Living History events
- Picnics at Valley Forge Park
- Bike Rides at Hagley Museum
- Get excited about taking the “back roads”
- Walk to the post office
- Earn money by shoveling driveways and mowing lawns for the neighbors
- Attend local concerts in the summer
But while it’s wise to be aware of these gaps in their life experience, it’s also wise to be aware of all the things they can do in spite of little effort on my part.
- Watch animals give birth
- See wild birds building nests
- Identify every type of turtle found in our locale
- Have a clear view of ever so many stars at night
- Walk around the pond and tell what animals have been visiting
- Spend lengthy amounts of time alone in the woods
- Identify different types of plants, their edibility and medicinal uses
- Acquire vast bug collections
- Understand which bugs are beneficial and which are harmful
- Track gopher trails through th woods
- Run as far as they can, shout as loud as they like
- Witness eggs hatching
- Sleep in the tree house
- Stuff themselves on garden veggies whenever lunch is late
- Explore the world of nature to their hearts content
What unique learning opportunities does your life offer? Have you learned to embrace them yet?