It’s funny how much having children can change a person. How rewarding it is to see the fruits of the hard work we put in. From the simple things like teaching manners, “please” and “thank you”, watching their individual personalities bloom from the very foundation that we lay before them. Learning and seeing how they observe everything we do. When they start to question and critique us. Want to know reasoning behind actions. The “why” behind it all. Knowing this truth has made me want to be a better person.
There isn’t an age where we begin to instill the desire for hard work into children. From the moment they enter our world they are watching our every move.
Becoming a parents means taking on new roles. One of those responsibilities is being an educator. There’s no better way to do that than letting them see us live our words. Teaching by example.
One of the ways I’ve been doing this recently is by working our home. The very surroundings that we live in and sleep around. I often joke about wanting to have a green thumb. To be able to grow things. Whether it be flowers to smell or herbs to consume. To view the fruits, or in this case vegetation, of hard labor. I want my children to understand this use and grow their desire. If one day they take it on for themselves, I will be overjoyed. Until they are at the age where they can decide whether they do or don’t enjoy working with their hands, I am going to teach them how it’s good and the many ways they can do so. Show them that they can choose to create something big from almost nothing. Use and learn skills and crafts to better our lives and the lives of those around us. I feel it’s important to know that it costs time and effort to reap rewards. This is something that bleeds over into all elements of our lives. From relationships and jobs to hobbies and schooling. We don’t always get back physical rewards when we put in hard work, but it grows us and teaches us. It shows us the ways to do things and when/how to alter methods when we see what does or doesn’t work.
I am a hands-on learner. Always have been. That fact made learning in school pretty interesting over the years. I could read a textbook ten times over and not understand a concept, but if you show me how x + y = z on paper it clicks. I don’t yet know how my children best learn, so until then I will instruct them in the manner that I know best.
Maybe that’s one of the reasons I love letting them get dirty. Encouraging them to play in the mud and dirt. Painting with our fingers and letting them taste playdoh to find out for themselves that I’m not joking, it truly isn’t worth eating. I don’t know. All I am sure about is that I have a lot of joy watching my children get excited about learning. My heart is constantly growing in new ways. Even when I see them fail. Letting them know it’s okay to not always win or have the success they were expecting. To see when they need encouragement and an extra push to try again. Or in some cases, take a break and move on to new things. Trying to find the balance that works for each of us.
Since getting a swingset in our backyard we play outside even more than before. We will start out in the front yard, watering our plants and riding tricycles and cozy coupes, to venturing into the jungle of our back terrain. A space that has a lot of possibilities. Most currently they involve digging, playing with the hose, learning how to swing, finding lizards, and watching mommy try to kill all the ants. A lot of activities that keep us busy.
I mention to Stephen, more often than he likes, how fun it would be to have some chickens. To raise the girls with some backyard “friends”. Of course I mean ones that we know are there. I’m not counting the families of squirrels, rabbits, birds and who knows what else we have on our property.
We are getting a few trees removed soon and I’ve been slowly trimming back some of the overgrowth that’s accumulated over the past few years. More land, more to mow?! Ooorrrr, more land, more space! And where there is space there’s opportunity!
Recently we got to take a visit to my friend Rene’s house. They live on a nice sized property about 10 miles from us and have some fun animals that the girls don’t get to regularly see. When I found out that there were chickens, goats, pigs and some baby chicks in that mix, I knew we had to make a visit. My friend Amanda picked us up one morning and we headed over to have some fun hangout time. Conversation for the mom’s, outdoor adventure for the kiddos. Always a great plan in my book.
After some phone map navigation we found our destination and set the kids free to investigate the open space. Another great thing about living out in the country. That’s definitely a statement I never saw myself making when I was younger. It’s amazing how much time and age changes us.
I’m pretty sure I was just as excited, if not more, about seeing, petting and feeding the animals.
I think it’s time to rent a goat. I’m sure it would chow down all our weed-trees a lot faster than I’m getting to them. Baby steps. One week we can try a goat and then we can work our way up to a hen or two. Maybe I should get the girls to draw pictures of baby chicks and give them to their dad. That worked for me and a kitten when I was a kid.