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It is a quiet overcast Saturday morning, just perfect for sitting on the couch sipping coffee and losing myself in a good book. The only reason it is quiet is that my four littles dreamed up an adventure, packed hot chocolate, and gingerbread cookies and bundled out the door. All four of them, even the baby wouldn’t be left behind.
It isn’t even that cold outside, but certainly cool enough for my little man to start a campfire, chop firewood and coax a cozy flame. His trusty hatchet and all his camping dishes were tossed into his backpack: he is well armed for the day.
Let’s just face it: my kids were meant to be Indians. I know they get it from both of their parents, as our own best memories were in the wild outdoors exploring and breathing fresh air.
These children are happiest when the sky is their ceiling and the moss is their carpet. The wind in the trees is their music and the ringing of the hatchet is the staccato that sets the rhythm for their tune.
Bare toes beat sandals any day, and while my two-year-old is dutifully wearing her coat and boots, my ten-year-old is not to be encumbered by such unnecessary accessories and is barefoot and working up a sweat in his short sleeves.
We did not quite get our fill of camping this year but the kids are taking care of the deficiency on their own. This whole outdoor day was their idea, and I intend to ride along with it by providing burritos and easy foods for them to munch on and stay alive.
Rachel Carson said it well- “I sincerely believe that for the child, and for the parent seeking to guide him, it is not half so important to know as to feel when introducing a young child to the natural world.
If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow. The years of early childhood are the time to prepare the soil.”
I mixed up a bit of hot chocolate for them to heat over the fire and sent cookies along to give them all the healthy energy they will need to keep up their hard-working lifestyle. I just took a peek at their busy morning and all is well in the outdoor world of survival.
Alannah is busy making a mud cake, complete with a twig candle, while Lakelyn is pounding a cedar stump into a “mushroom.” Tirzah has been kept busy by refilling the canteen and watching over Lakelyn. Then she relaxed by eating a cookie by the fire.
Life just doesn’t get better than this.
“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature, and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy amidst the simple beauty of nature. I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.”
I was just telling Daniel this morning that I want our children to grow up asking questions, to be invited to think and explore and ask things that could be uncomfortable but really aren’t when shared openly.
I also want them to discover that God and his word is unfailing, unmoving and always their guiding north star, no matter what their difficulty in life may be.
The purity of God’s word and His creation grab me again…
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge…
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.” Portions from Psalm 19
Mothering a tribe of wild Indians can be a complex thing.
We must both nourish their dreams and be prepared for the surge of muddy footprints and unrecognizable clothing by evening. It can be complex if we make it that way. Or we can sit back and see the simplicity and beauty in the world and lives around us. But the shining eyes and cleared hearts afterward will always be worth the extra effort.
We are investing, not only in their world but getting a fresh perspective again for ourselves.
These little ones embrace life with such purity,
I just have to come along for the ride.