Maureen has an 11-year-old daughter who is the light of her life. She is an excited Mom who sparkles at the mention of Motherhood and all it’s given her. She was eager to provide her best tips in hopes they might be helpful to others.
Maureen, “Teach them to enjoy the outdoors.” Tip #7
Enjoying the outdoors was not something so prevalent in my childhood. I was forced outside all the time, but “enjoying the outdoors” was something different. I’m glad Maureen mentioned.
Encouraging outdoor play was likely limited due to the fact I was heavily asthmatic. (Maybe that’s why fun has been an issue? Hmmmm) I couldn’t do much physically without a trip to the emergency room.
To further complicate matters, my Mom was extremely fearful of injury. She predicted injury or trouble almost every time I left the house. I would not dare try something new!
I remember hearing an adage, when a child has climbed a tree he will draw a different tree than a child who has never climbed a tree. I don’t know if there’s any truth to that, but I had never climbed a tree. I decided, my son would climb a tree! I grabbed up my baby and off we went!
I took a 2-year old Michael in my arms for a planned hike, picnic, and tree climbing. I smile as I recall my lack of understanding in every facet of my plan.
Michael was only 2! He hadn’t even mastered walking, but I was taking him on a hike. He certainly couldn’t climb, and the significance of a picnic in the woods would be lost on him, for sure! I was so ill-prepared, but how I tried!
With barely any concept of childhood development, this event did increase my knowledge. I recall I was angry with Michael as he wanted to stop ‘hiking.’ He was likely grabbing leaves or rocks, enjoying nature. There was no time for that, I had a plan! We were going to climb a tree!
Something within me fed an urgency to give Michael every experience I could. I raced to unravel my personal damage, and hurried to make all things right.
Our hike was brief, likely minutes. We sat for a picnic, then we climbed our first tree! I still have a branch of it in his baby book. In some ways, we were growing up together. In every way we were experiencing childhood together.
At the same time, with a similar level of understanding, I put Michael on the teeter-totter. My god! He wasn’t strong enough to hold on, I now know. I jumped on the other side, eager to give this playground experience!
I hoisted him up, and down he came. I ran to him, picked him up, and sat bawling as I cradled him in the playground. I scolded myself relentlessly. What have I done? How did I not know? I could have killed my baby, and I could have! Sigh!
I look back sweetly on how hard I tried, sadly on how alone I felt, and tragically on how poorly prepared I was. In the end, I did my best to instill an appreciation for the outdoors. There is such fun to be had outside, so many adventures.
Many years later, at about age 7 Michael was a ‘country-kid.’ I’m happy he was able to play and climb. Sheila’s (Mom #7) family really enriched this experience.
Michael had a wonderful childhood. I think time spent playing outdoors can help us all to feel like kids again. Life really is in the simple things.
Thanks for the memories Maureen. I’m sure you have a much better grasp on age-appropriate activities, than did I!
Next week building trust.
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