Intermission: Wood Chips
I wanted to share with you one of the most valuable lessons my daughter taught me when she was sixteen-months-old. I call this essay, "Cherish Your Wood Chips."
Today was one of those days where I just couldn't get enough done. No matter how many times my pen scratched off a to-do list item - a new one seemed to appear. But you, Samantha, didn't have anything on your agenda.
At sixteen-months your days are usually quite free. I sat in my home office, routinely punching computer keys, and you came to my office gate. You had your coat, draped over your head, looking like a little green goblin.
"Samantha we can't go outside today. For one, it's cold and secondly I just have too much on my plate." One of your blue eyes peered out questioningly from beneath the green cape. You then walked to the door and pounded on it. I realized that working was futile - you wanted to go play.
I glanced at my watch, if we hurried we could be back in thirty-minutes, enough time to satiate your needs for the outside world without interfering with my needs on the inside world.
Together, hand in hand, we walked down to the park. I was ready to take you on your favorite swing. Instead, you plopped down in a pile of wood chips. I watched half in amazement and half in frustration as you scrutinized each one. Turning it. Tasting it. Feeling it.
I let out a sigh and situated myself on a low monkey bar. I don't have time for this, I thought. I didn't say the words - but Samantha, I had brought you here to swing. I had brought you here to play. And since you were just examining wood chips - I thought of the ways this time could be better spent. My to-do-list ran through my mind: change the laundry, answer e-mail, finish pre-pub issue, respond to Eric's galleys, finish Ken's marketing campaign, send kit to Scholastic.
I let out another sigh and was about to pick you up and take you home, when a little boy approached. I watched as you excitedly ran to him. You displayed each proud find - each beautiful wood chip.
The little boy smiled like it was a holiday as he accepted each offering. When your hands were empty, you ran back for more.
The boy continued to smile. He was with his grandmother - and while she paused for your sixty-second exchange, she then hustled him along saying, "We need to get on the swing so I can get back and finish dinner."
You watched the boy on the swing. It was like a silent communication. You knew, he too, would rather be playing with the wood chips.
After about ten minutes on the swing and a few glances at her watch, the grandmother caught the young boy and began the descent home. Your gaze followed him - and Samantha, you don't have a poker face - you were sad. You plopped back into the wood chips and began to pick them up again. One by one. You had no dinner to fix. You weren't even hungry. The only thing of importance were the wood chips and someone else who could understand their magnificence.
I was saddened a bit as I watched you there. Eventually you will have dinner to cook, you might have your own kids to take to the park, laundry to-do, or a boss to reckon with. Somewhere, somehow, you will learn the constraints of our world. But not today.
As I watched you, I realized I could be like the grandmother and pull you from the magic land of wood chips and take you back to the world of time and accountability. But in that instant, I knew I needed those wood chips too.
So I went down next to you. I on my back, in light colored clothes - immersed in a pile of wet, muddy wood chips; you in your jeans, kneeling, intently handing me each one.
We made the chips into a necklace. We built them into a tower. We stuck them down our shirts. We played catch with them. We pretended they were pizza. We imagined what they would say if they could speak. We smiled at them and pretended that they smiled back.
People mulled around the park, taking their dogs for ten-minute walks, skipping along on their thirty-minute jogs. I am sure they thought we were crazy.
When I next glanced at my watch, two hours had passed. We both had wood chips in our hair and mud on our clothes, but I don't think either of us has ever looked more beautiful.
You stood up, ready now, to go home. And I took your hand and we walked together.
When we got home - I took out a pen and paper and in big black lettering I wrote: "Cherish Your Wood Chips." I stuck it in my daily-planner, right across from my to-do list.
Samantha, when I woke up this morning, I didn't know you would hand me one of the secrets to happiness. When I awoke this morning, I did not understand the value of a wood chip.
Brook Noel is the author of The Change Your Life Challenge: A 70 Day Life Makeover Program for Women. Her unique program has helped thousands of women "makeover" all aspects of their lives. Learn more at http://www.changeyourlifechallenge.com
Disciplining the Wild Child
Do you have a wild child? Then this article may be for you. Do you just blow up when you can't take it any more? Then this article is definitely for you.
Parents --- Homeschooling Can Take a Lot Less Time Than You Think
The time you will need to teach your children the essentials - reading, writing, and arithmetic - is much less than you think. Let me quote author and former public-school teacher John Gatto from his wonderful book, Dumbing Us Down:"Were the colonists geniuses? [i.
How Children Learn
Nurture and TeachThe single most important thing caregivers can do for a child is provide a nurturing environment. By doing this, we influence children's brain development and their ability to learn.
Public Schools --- Why On Earth Do We Need Them?
From the time the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620 until the 1850s, most parents taught their children to read at home or sent their children to small private or religious grammar schools. Education was voluntary and local governments did not force parents to send their children to state-controlled schools.
Give Your Child the Gift of Self-Esteem
Much has been said about the "gifted child" but in truth every child is born with unlimited potential. As expressed so well by Orison Marden:"Deep within man dwell those slumbering powers; powers that would astonish him, that he never dreamed of possessing; forces that would revolutionize his life if aroused and put into action.
My Sons Deployment
One of the most difficult struggles in life for a parent is the struggle that occurs when the parent is attempting to keep their child safe and the child is attempting to explore the world and find their place in it, often times not in the safest manner.A discussion of Inside Out cannot occur without me sharing some of my own personal struggles with the concept.
I will cherish this moment. I will not let it slip away like sand between my fingers.
7 Easy Ideas for Organizing Kids Artwork
In school, kids are encouraged to create, draw, color, paint and build. These activities can certainly stimulate children, and help them grow.
Parenting Your Teenager: How to End the Curfew Battle
Q. Things have been relatively calm and OK with our 16-year-old son so far.
Motherhood is a Perfect Adventure
How often do you think of family life as an adventure or delightful experience? If you and your children are having a good day, then you might buy into this idea. However, many of you are probably laughing hysterically now.
There's a phrase that's become popular over the past few years that fills me with wonder. That phrase is "quality time.
Renee's Mommy is Here
I still remember the scene vividly. I was getting out of my car at the baby-sitter's house and a little boy comes running out the door.
Girls Gone Mild
Voices!So many voices crying out for adherence and so many people confused about values, virtues and life.What voices are calling out to you and what voices are you listening to?My daughter is just now enjoying her first year in life.
Back to School Success Tips
Q. With the school year just beginning, what can we do as parents to help make this a successful year for our teen-ager and our family?A.
Spending Time With Your Child
Why Is Spending Time with Your Child So Important?For children to get any sense that they are loved and wanted, you have to be prepared to spend some time with them. I know you are all thinking, so tell me something I don't know.
Promoting Your Childs Motor Development
Assuming there are no serious motor problems present, what can you, as an involved parent, do to help promote your child's motor development? To help ensure she becomes a competent, confident mover who enjoys and therefore takes part in physical activity? The answer is: Plenty!Practice is one of the most important factors involved in achieving higher levels of skill performance. But one of the most important factors involved in practice is that it not feel like practice!It's simple, really: All you have to do is play with your child.
Ready, Aim, Achieve! - Become An On-purpose Family Through Goal Setting
Successful families don't just happen. They take time, talent and planning.
Parenting in the Kitchen - Lessons in Cooking, Socializing, and Bonding
Kitchens are where everything happens. It's not just where meals are prepared - it's usually the hub of the home, where family and friends get together to spend time.
Screaming Kids Driving You Nuts? Four Rules to Help You Keep Your Sanity!
Often I will hear parents say, "I just ignore Jr. when he has a fit or screams.
Parenting Secrets Revealed
So your little Susie wants to join a competitive gymnastic club? You conclude that this is going to be great fun! Maybe, you even think this is just the ticket your bouncy little girl needs to get rid of her pent-up energy while meeting other little friends. Initially, all seems well as you proudly watch your Susie happily striving to achieve equilibrium success.
|home | site map|