I was recently inspired by an article I read about how we are now raising our children in captivity - this notion really struck a chord with me - perhaps because of my own upbringing in the sprawling concrete jungle of Hong Kong, or perhaps because sometimes it just is 'easier' to turn on the TV and let your kids while away their childhood. As a mother of three boys, it is essential that we "reset" through nature.
This is increasingly true as my children get older - the eldest has just started Reception and even though the EYFS has a focus on learning through play and encouraging a free flow between the indoor learning space and the outdoor one, there is still a need to tick boxes with the curriculum, and worse...drive towards levels or Government passed 'judgements’. We live in the country in Somerset, on the border with Devon. Over this past weekend, we had all had enough of structured time and it was time just to BE; be out and be free.
I packed a small picnic, divided it between the two elder boys’ backpacks and slung the baby onto my back. There are myriad fields and public footpaths on our doorstep, and this time I let the boys lead the way. They chose a well-trodden path through a recently harvested potato field. Unperturbed by the cultivator tilling the soil in the distance, we were able to ramble freely and follow the lines left in the wake of this vast machine.
The kids revelled in spotting potatoes leftover from the last harvest and with each step forward we took, we left the mundane stresses of time-keeping, school runs, regimented extra-curricular activities and sibling scrapping behind us. Each breath of fresh air refreshed the mind and spirit and for those fleeting moments, my 5-year old and 3-year old adventurers were empowered by the vastness of the land they surveyed - masters of their own destiny, able to choose their own risks and set their own challenges. Should we go along the path, or walk right up next to the embankment of the stream? Would there be too many nettles in the meadow stretches or might the muddy pathway be too claggy? Seemingly insignificant choices, but big decisions for the little trekkers. And it is in these moments that the ordinary becomes extraordinary.
Alexandra Ilo on Thursday, 22 February 2018.
Posted in South West
Deborah Patterson 23 February 2018 at 11 35 | # My boys also love those moments when they get to 'just be', and especially when I let them choose which path to take. Sometimes it gets us all caught up in brambles (me more than them as they can squeeze through the smallest gaps!), but somehow it always works out. They love the notion that every walk we take, however small, is an adventure.
Jay Greengrass 23 February 2018 at 14 32 | # Hello Alexandra!Oh, what a lovely post! It really resonated with me because often I'm guilty of imposing my own directions on my kids when we get out and about. The best days out really are, as you said, when you just let them be. I'm looking forward to reading lots more of your posts!
Indy Dhillon 23 February 2018 at 16 12 | # Hi Alexandra! welcome to the team. a lovely read and very inspiring!
Nancy Chambers 23 February 2018 at 21 49 | # Hi Alexandra,That sounds like a great day out. Those moments where you just get a chance to be are just great. Looking forward to hearing about more of yours )
Anna Gunn 25 February 2018 at 16 27 | # How beautiful.
Kerry Teague 08 March 2018 at 22 13 | # I love this post. Now that my 2 are well into their primary school years we have so much less time to "just be" and I defend any time that we do have ferociously as it's just too precious. We try to keep the extra-curricular stuff to a minimum but are finding that harder now that the Little Trekkers are developing their own interests and opinions on things! I'm so glad they both still love the outdoors, though, and are happy to keep the weekends as free as possible so we can get into them as often as possible. Thanks for inspiring me to continue to encourage this as a priority. I have so many happy memories of days like that and would love to add a lot more while we still can!