Daniela Ginta, The Mindful Writer

Freelance Writer and Photographer, Author of the Mindfulness Blog

Tag: raising boys Page 2 of 7

March Eight. Of Robins, Boys and Blades of Grass

StopIt’s only fitting that the robin comes flying by the side of the car as I drive slowly after dropping off little boy for Forest School. It is March 8, and growing up meant Mother’s Day. No bells and whistles, no marketing campaigns or Hallmark cards, just carefully hand drawn cards, mostly with snowdrops because I loved to draw them and they matched the small bouquet in my hand.

The connection between the robin and my Mom was made shortly after her sudden passing almost ten years ago and it will never change. You could say I have a comfort bird. Well, I needed one.

So, the robin. I stop the car and step outside. I sit by the side of the dirt road close to the tree where the robin is. I listen a while, catch a burst of song that gets mixed in with the symphony pouring down from all the trees and realize that it’s the swiftness of it before it mixes with the others that makes it more precious and it’s all the sounds engulfing it that make it complete.

It’s March 8 and sunny.

Some years ago someone abruptly asked why I am attached to a relic of the communist regime. Ah, nothing like the political smears spreading over a day that politics should stay out of. The answer is in the renewal celebration surrounding me.

greenWhere I sit by the side of the road there’s fresh bold new blades of grass, so green they look surreal, each carrying gifts of morning dew. That’s what the day is about to me. Life.

Earlier in the car little boy made my heart dance and my eyes tear up. ‘Mom, you know mushrooms look fragile but they are not. They can break through concrete if they have to. Plants too…’ It is so, isn’t it?

You’re only as fragile as you believe yourself to be. If you let your instincts guide you, then you can break through barriers that you never thought you could break through.

And it’s not about whether you are fragile or not. We all are in some ways. Yet trading it completely for what’s perceived as strength alone is not an option either. True strength is tender-hearted and comes from packing both strength and fragility for the road ahead. That’s how you grow to see the human, not the deeds, celebrate their presence in your life and learn about courage.

That’s how you learn about worthiness. When you can see past the obvious, past of what is easy to see. You learn to appreciate those moments of solitude when you look in the mirror asking ‘where to from here?’ only to realize that by asking the question you have stood your ground and you did not hide the fragile bits. Yes, it takes courage to ask. And it takes courage to follow the road that comes without directions except for one: Trust yourself.

That’s why I celebrate motherhood today.

Today is when I think of the journey so far. The sea of memories lapping at the window of my motherhood hut, where inadequacies and victories lay together, amassed during a time that happens too fast.

Today I sit here by the side of the road and allow no hurry. I think of the boys, their boisterous presence at times and then again, their revealing of softer sides so often when they whisper their own inadequacies, their discoveries of things that tug at their hearts, the questions that often come with tears. Together we learn to see that we’re the same, bound by love. Sometimes, stepping on each other’s toes reveals that no dance is perfect and pain spares no one. clenching your teeth in resentment is the wrong path. Smile through tears. Be grateful.

It creates mindfulness.

Motherhood invites to that. I said yes a long time ago when my boys were born, and then more so after my Mom left. Waking up with less became determination to see more.

That’s why celebrating the day quietly by the side of the road makes all the sense. It’s not about giving the day a name because it’s not the day itself but the people who make it worthwhile. Hence the futility of pulling the politics curtain over it and burying it in righteousness.

all of itToday is not about politics but about finding the space and time to see. Today is about saying ‘Thank you’ to my Mom, remembering what vulnerability and strength look like, put them back in my satchel as I carry on with the journey and telling my boys:

‘Yes, I’m showing up every day for the most difficult job in the world.

Yes, there is always room for better but that’s why tomorrow was invented and that’s why we have hugs.

Yes, I go to the bottom many times and each time I push myself to the surface again, I take another deep breath and say ‘again!’ as if I am having the ride of my life. Because I am, and every moment of it is worthy it.

Because you are.’

To Live Is To Learn

Originally published as a column in NewsKamloops on February 12, 2016. 

learnMy family and I went to Victoria for a few days. It was quite a treat. The breath of early spring was present in purple crocus patches, red tulips and yellow daffodils spread along sidewalks, even a cherry tree shyly showing its tiny pink blossoms much to the delight of passersby in the heart of the harbour.

It was warm enough, sunny enough and the bit of rain was a good reminder that we were on the Coast after all. Our province really does have one charming capital.

As the boys are now homeschooled, we took our learning with us. And, as a friend aptly pointed out, one good thing about them learning at home is that there is no tuning in and out of the process.

No boundaries to separate learning hours from the rest of the day, and that learning comes with is simply the unavoidable reality that life and its lessons happen every step of the way. Deductions are our own, they come with lots of reading, and they complement the process.

You never know enough, I tell the boys. That’s the measure of humbleness that adds quality to your learning; realizing that what you learn adds pieces to a puzzle that keeps on growing, providing you with the bird’s eye view that we need to understand our path and the purpose of being here.

In the four days we had in Victoria we visited the Royal BC Museum, the Miniature Museum and the Bug Zoo. We visited the BC Forest Discovery Centre in Duncan and we were lucky to have a family friend take us to a forest research facility nearby where we learned about the pine beetle and other troubles that our majestic woods encounter, as well as the hard work involved in finding sustainable solutions to them thriving.

And just like that, as we headed to the BC Legislature two days later, we happened upon a peaceful protest. The Wilderness Committee volunteers were on the front steps holding unrolled banners with big letters: ‘Save Walbran Valley’. Media was there and there were people carrying small tree cardboard cut-outs. The Walbran Valley has magnificent old-growth trees, Sitka spruce and red cedar groves. It makes sense that it should be saved.

Who would want to cut those and why? Surely not someone who knows about the amazing old trees and their presence among us and in our forests. Being aware and willing to fight for them matters. Speaking up and standing up matters, but you have to know your reasons. Learning why forests are needed, and how to stand up for the tallest old giants among us and more, that is what learning helps with.

We were impressed to discover that we happened to be at the BC Legislature on the same day when the very buildings opened 118 years ago on February 10.

And we were also impressed to realize that Steve Thomson, the BC Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, who would have the power to reverse the controversial (detrimental to our province) logging permits, was likely just a few steps away at the time we visited.

Learning helps us all gather facts and understanding why we need to preserve rather than consume or downright destroy, reuse rather than make new, and recycle rather than add to the waste pile. The plethora of facts, past and present, may seem daunting but what’s the future going to look like if we don’t, and if we do not encourage our children to open their eyes and minds to see and learn?

We saw biking lanes lining the side of each road downtown and many people cycling every which way. A good thing to strive for in every city. Sure, temperature in Kamloops drops lower than theirs, but we have enough warm weather to make the most of it, cycling-wise. Or walking. All we need is to ask (and ask again) for lanes that make cycling safe.

Then we have to be diligent enough to help our children learn (by example ideally), that exercise is the best way to deal with stress, chronic health problems and to make a community tighter and healthier in all aspects. It takes learning but that is what carries us forth and makes us mind the miracle of being alive and keeping the world alive too.

We befriended two harbour seals who were so immensely curious and cute, willing to play and hang out with us humans. They danced gracefully underwater, they surfaced and dove again, they peeked at us from underwater and they almost spoke, or at least that is what it felt like. Then they left to return to their watery abode, wherever that might be. Theirs to choose and rightfully so.

All of that prompted a conversation about animals living in freedom, as opposed to those we imprison so that we can be entertained as we see them up-close. We know better by now. Conservation and rehabilitation aside, there should be no zoos but instead shelters and sanctuaries for animals and birds who cannot return to the wild.

It truly never stops: Learning and then learning some more. It’s a gift to ourselves, our children and to those with whom we share our world. Which is all of us.

Why We Need To Fail

‘I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.’ Carl Jung

2014-12-13 16.12.09We need to fail. Not to be failures, but fail at. Dot dot dot. Failing at (fill in the gap) defines the very thing that happens occasionally (yes it does, to everyone, whether we admit it openly or not, or at all), but failing at does not define a person. It should not, unless we let it do that. Sadly, it does sometimes, because some of us learn to define our worthiness through our deeds. Being a parent gives me the freedom to say that parents a behind that one, most of the time anyway.

‘You are worth it because you do things and you do them well’ is what I do not what to tell my boys. You are worth it. No buts or ifs.

Hopefully that will allow them the freedom to fail at times and admit it too, knowing their worthiness is just the same or more if they do. Hopefully they will take a deep breath and say ‘well, that didn’t work’ rather than ‘I failed.’ The latter is not constructive, nor true. If stabbing oneself in the back would be possible, that’d be it. Or rather stabbing your soul, flat out cold. Telling it to look for a better residence.

Making mistakes does not make one a failure. In fact, you can fail at many things, we all do. At being human at times, which is in fact a terrible sin if you ask me, but I’ll leave that for a later chat.

We fail at keeping up with our schedules, with our plans, with our resolution to smile more, to not raise our voices at our children (OK, I am the only one, right?), to do the workout routine or finish that long pushed-aside story which you’re almost afraid of because it seems to have developed a life of its own and you almost feel it pushing you out of its way (again, that’s just me perhaps) because you’re not good enough. Well, you get the idea. We fail at things.

We fail at making things happens or making them happen the right way, but that is what it takes to figure things out. So that’s one thing I want to teach my boys in our school at home. Feel free to fail. With a mention: when you do, do it right. Which means that once you make the realization that things did not work out, you face it with dignity but not by identifying yourself with it, then you sit down (or go for a run, whichever allows for the inspiration flow to surface) and do some brainstorming. Why didn’t it work? What can be changed to make it work? What have I learned by failing at? What holds me back from believing I can succeed?

Failure without the after steps makes for a lost opportunity. So if I am to follow logic in that thicket of thoughts that just grew out of seeds of life on this page, well, I get to a simple truth: each failure is an opportunity. To learn to do better, to let go if necessary, to change something (self attributes included), to stay alive.

For as long as you fail at things, you know for a fact that you are alive and daring. Which is a good starting point for the next adventure. That’s what I want the boys to learn. That is what I hope to remember next time when my knees are bruised and self-worth is ready to take a plunge.

Keep learning. Through everything. That is all. For now…

Things I’ve Learned. Happy New Year!

StubbornIt is almost New Year’s Eve and winter has somewhat caught up with us bringing frozen sunny mornings to our doorstep.

It is eerily humbling to be waiting for winter the way it once was in a place that is never going to be the way it once was… People and places change in the bitter sweet dance of time, and no matter how stubborn, we are all twirling like snowflakes in a snow storm, landing where we least expected and poised (if we make it so) to make the best of it.

The year comes to an end. It’s always with a bit of regret that I look back, choosing to see mostly the things I’ll leave behind forever. This time though I want to hum the better song as I walk along. The things I’ve learned, the ones I take with, the ones that make me better, or so I feel.

Lost and foundIt’s a matter of making peace with yourself and life. Not crying over what cannot be changed. The prayer comes to mind, the one I so often saw as difficult to accomplish when changes made me bend under their implacable weight and what was left of me was no more than a twig seemingly breakable by the first gust of wind. It’s never like that though…

Now I know…

 

That the worst of days has, like the happiest, has only 24 hours that it can howl at me. That is, at best, a ladder with 24 rungs that I leave behind one after another as I climb towards a better day.

That if I need someone to tell me I can do it or hold my hand (or heart) as I do it, all I have to do is ask. That might be one of the hardest things to do, which is why it is one of the biggest gift someone can give. It’s the give-get thing. An unsinkable truth of life indeed.

That we are solely able to steer off courses that take us to where we do not want to go. All we have to do is stop, breathe, and have the courage to look around, asking loud enough ‘Is this where I want to be?’ If not, why dawdle? Of all the 24 rungs we climb, if there is at least one left, we can make it a day.

That when I smile, everything gets better. That someone will smile back. It’s never to be taken for granted. Or forgotten. The world is a smile better when we make it so. It’s a matter of will. And courage to be vulnerable enough to let yourself be seen. Smiling. Crying. It’s the same face that does it, the same heart that powers both.

That there is a gift of calmness in a crumpled leaf that I will never find anywhere else. When you step outside and pick one up, it will tell you stories of life and death, of the inexorable nature of seasons, of being just a wee song in the large orchestra that would sound different, even in an imperceptible way, if you were not there.

That I can get lost in a sea of others, but I am still my own. When you are, you are your own colour to a world that you joined as unique once upon a time. Add your own, believe that you can.

SeeThat I am able to see. With me eyes, with my heart, with my hands in the dark. As long as the mind is open to it.

That clouds are lessons, so big that only a sky could hold them all. Like you or I, they speak time, except that they seem to explain it better. Things come and go, nothing stays forever. Of course I know that. And just like that, of course I pretend to forget. Because it is both soothing and scary, a flavour that we have to learn to use as we go so that each bite becomes a gift. If each bite is to become a gift.

That when I open my arms for a hug, someone will fall in there, soft-hearted and eager, and will emerge feeling worthy. Because of that hug. Which I could give because I know the taste of it. Because someone, somewhere, had gifted me the same.

That seeing the sunrise is as precious as being born. Every day, another chance to make it better. There are 365 sunrises a year. Every year.

BeautyThat having my children call the most urgent ‘Mom, come see the sky!’ means that sunsets are reminders of shared life, love and the wonder of a world we get to see once more through the eyes of those who never hold back unless we make them think they should. Which is a sin.

 

 

to beThat precious is not a word for diamonds, or things made to be expensive. It is what defines morning walks with my sons, their arms wrapped around my neck at night, or the four of us waking up by a lake, soft whispers infusing the emerald air and having us know that as long as we can see that together we are on the side of life where we should be.

That speaking of life not just as you see it but as you feel it is a must. Vulnerability makes us stronger.

That’s how much I’ve learned this year, that’s what I’m taking with me to the next. To build on. To learn of so much more.

LightsHappy New Year!

If Lakes Could Sing… Oh, But They Do

Day to beThe morning snuggle and read with little boy are obligatory. You gotta have the right book too. It has to keep little kids ask for one more chapter until, pushing their face into your neck, delighting you with their gentle warm breath as they whisper sweetly ‘One more, Mama, pleeeease?’ you yield, and when the chapter ends the game starts again. Oh no, not this time. No becomes yes and the sun coming through the window splatters on the page you’re about to read. Same irreverence as the child… Can you blame them though?

We’re reading E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web (again, and pretending we have no clue about what’s coming) and little boy’s apprehension of spiders dissolves with every page Charlotte proves her love and devotion towards the pig called Wilbur who can truly make you question your meat-eating habits if you’re still at it.

True to form, last week’s end saw the boys learning about animals in our little school. Past the usual anatomy and physiology – miraculous on their own of course, we snuggled to listen to talks about whether animals feel or not, courtesy of Carl Safina, an amazing scholar with a penchant for saying it like it is and an ardent desire to save the world.

We listened, and then we got very silent as we paused to think how to place all that we heard in the context of human compassion and how it should (must) influence the way we take from here onward.

WonderingsMy wild boys’ eyes could not be rounder as they learn of these things and their questions more pertinent. Truly, children have it right. Their minds uncorrupted and their ears still able to perk up and hear the sounds of the world many adults tune out. The world that matters because it keeps us alive with it.

The same old question that makes grownups roll their eyes at times… ‘Can one person change the world?’ Idealistic and dream-like, but dreams have to start somewhere. Learning is dreaming is pursuing. Children have that flame alive and burning. They say ‘I can’ until we tell them enough time ‘It’s not possible’. Then the flame subsides.

Learning comes with listening to songs that can change the tune of your own if you allow the child within to keep alive, not just in playfulness but in how you write ‘Possible’ on dreams.

This world and that A bit of a rethinking of life as we know it, but as we’ve come to discover daily, the mandate of our school at home includes shaking off limiting beliefs and making room for thinking, debating and realizing that on a good day, we’re merely seeing a sliver of all that wonder of the world.

There cannot be gratefulness for opening your eyes to a new day unless you’re poised to learn why you can do that and that seeing all that you see as you go about your day is a string of happenings that your mind can choose to learn about and understand, and in doing so you’re ever more in awe of how much you don’t know.

Hence we learn about ignorance too in our school. The value of not knowing, which, as you admit to, takes you past the slimy reality of superficial knowledge, a dreadful disease of our world, and leads you into what becomes a path to never stray from. Knowledge of the world.

It comes with square roots, and fractions, with spelled and misspelled words, it comes with French greeting phrases and stories of early explorers, with science experiments that tie you to ‘Why?’ forever, with understanding that we may be but one thread in the life tapestry. Learning to hang onto, learning that other threads are equally important if we are to tell the real story. Resilience is as much a word as it is a concept. A goal. Just like compassion.

So we learn. Learning comes with waking up mindful of what your next steps, careful enough to not step on someone’s dreams and smiles, and if you do, to have the strength and humbleness to ask for forgiveness.

SilentWhat you can seeBy the time the week ends we’re spoiled by sunshine and venture to out searching for winter wonders. Boys and snow go well together. Most times anyway. We find it: magic. White and silent, it lives where your hot breath has an echo, among tall trees with beards of snow and forest paths sprinkled with myriad tracks of animals that tell stories… stories that tie into our learning, stories we can learn.

Boys follow the path that takes us to the lake. We are at Lac Le Jeune where last visit saw us braving minus 21 Celsius, freezing toes and fingers asking for mercy. That was then…

taste of magicToday is cloudy and quiet and we’re not hoping for sun as we’re too enraptured by the whiteness of thick snow. But sunshine pushes the clouds aside and we’re stuck in sparkling beauty. I have one thought as I stare at small blade-like crystals of hoarfrost… ‘If this ever ceases to exist as such, we are poorer for it. Lost.’

Being overwhelmed by magic that reduces you to that one thought gives reason to choose the one path that makes sense after that: simplicity. Aiming for what matters.

wonder...It matters to have boys run and scream with joy as they see ice crystals perched on low branches and on the side of the lake, it matters to be there with them.

It matters to stoop down to observe tracks, signs of life, big and small, to decipher the voices of the woods, the words they write for us to heed; it matters to realize that there’s no better place to see than where everything seems hidden. Everything we need to see to learn is always in front of us, wherever we are.

Boys and musicIt matters to have the boys throw handfuls of snow on the thin ice that hugs the lake surface in a tight embrace and see their faces light up with wonder ‘Did you hear that?’ Yes, the ice sings. More? It’s a game that keeps on going. It has to. For them to learn, for them to never be afraid of joy, never ashamed of playing to get there…

The lake sings, the sun is shining brightly, birds and boys do the pitter patter on snow and under the trees, each laughing in their own way, each quarreling just the same, maybe to remind of imperfections needed to keep humbleness in place.

It matters to have that moment stuck in your heart forever, to understand that it is not in what we strive for on the outside that we find shelter in but in what we carry with us, deep inside, in how we find ourselves hopeful enough to never give up searching for better days, and wiser by having experienced the hopelessness of lost days…

To be is to learn. To learn to be. And magic is all.

Peter Pan Lives Here. Times Two

boy and grass‘Can you see me?’

‘No Peter…’

But I do. I see a tuft of wild hair, I see the smile sparkling like a golden butterfly from behind stalks of bunchgrass. Little boy is at it again. Peter Pan indeed.

We’ve read the books, abridged and unabridged, yet again, and we will do it one more time, and two, and three times more until little boy will say ‘now let’s read about Ivanhoe.’

We take Peter Pan from books to the hills where boys get lost among dry grasses and hide behind scraggly ponderosa pines that are still standing… Playing. There is a mystery to it all. Grass speaks to boys in wild ways. ‘Do it!’ it says to them… Run to catch the sun! Can you balance on the see-saw stump? Do it!

To us it says the same but we’re grownups now and the sounds come out distorted. We say ‘Stop! Go slow, don’t run so fast…’. Boys snicker, throw silly looks over their shoulders as they do it anyway…

Be it so… Their feet and bodies listen to the tall grass only. As they should. The mystery itself.

yellowIt is midday Sunday and the sun is stingy with its warmth but we’re clad in wool sweaters and touques. We’re on the hiking trail we often take in the morning. It is no longer just a path snaking on the side of the hill. It is where we discover woodpeckers and blue jays and snow berries and yellow mushroom caps and talk about what makes smoke go up and how math is everywhere on any given morning before we head inside to learn more.

A trail that has become ‘the trail’ and then it has become ‘our trail’. We pin, as if with sticky notes, memories of us, of the mornings that see us hike here and talk about the things the boys learn in our school at home.

Soon we will know every turn and bush and stump.

Little boy pleas with his brother to be pirate Cecco. Say yes? He does. Taunting as the big brother words and gestures can be towards little boy at times, there’s a lot of love pouring out when he’s eagerly agreeing to play. He hops, runs, jumps and rolls as any pirate worth his salt would. Delight lives on both sides.

20151027_142332_001There’s barely any space around us that’s left unfilled with laughter – sounds so round you’d think it’s raining plump giggling droplets. I like it when that happens. Sun showers of sorts. Like silly weather, boys’ moods go from sunshine to snow to sun again in a merry-go-round grownups so inelegantly and harshly judge at times.

Boys can turn playful tumbles into war-like matches. The world of boys is a magic one. Sweet smiles and twinkling eyes one second, darts and fists flying wild the next. Like now. We stop and listen.

Peace again. ‘It’s OK, mom, we’re going to play some more.’

Max and I walk slowly behind them, gazing at shreds of clouds scattered over cinnamon hills. Quiet meets quiet, eyes meet, and the air feels warmer.

TumbleThere are giggles and rustling noises coming from behind Saskatoon berry bushes. Peter Pan’s wooden knife plunges next to Cecco’s feet and the next seconds become a tumble of two bodies down a sandy slope. Laughter so loud it makes dogs bark. Just like in the book with Nana the dog on the night of the great adventure.

Too much sand fills Pan’s boots so they come off. Little boy runs barefoot with big brother in hot pursuit. What? No, put them on, it’s cold.

‘I’ll keep the socks on!’ Pitter patter, feet get away from being questioned. Play is what they want to do.

More tumbles, more screams. I don’t know why Max and I are laughing but how else can this become a memory? An imprint of this and now? Faces get dirty and hair turns wispy after the sand tumbles and wild lost boys they are, lost from anything but playing. Lost and found, up and down, a world of their own which we have the privilege to see.

Exhaustion comes in like a nagging aunt. They lean against us as we walk home. You walk on your own, pirate, let those legs carry you home. Peter can fly…

applesThey laugh and walk alongside grabbing crab apples off the trees and picking brown leaves off the ground.

‘Can I sew leaves onto my shirt like Peter Pan’s?’

Perhaps use fabric? He did. The dining table is now a sea of green with leaf-shaped bits of fabric peeking from just about everywhere. This is learning. They both learn by touching and doing and daring. They learn by living.

Little boy cuts and prepares, he will sew them on one by one. He’ll wear the shirt and pants for a day, or two or three, bury them under new ideas and dig them out on a sunny morning when the sunshine will remind him of Peter Pan.

grass songsLet’s read some Peter Pan he’ll say, and I will say yes, and we’ll read once, twice, three times… and time will stay still. Lost boys will resurface, pirates too, and the tall grass will call to them again. Whispers and songs they’ll still hear for many moons to come, for childhood will still be here, sewn to their smiles and mischief still stuck to their hair like glittering sand and dandelion seeds are today.

We’ll follow them boys as they’ll run and tumble, we’ll be quiet and hopeful that the whispers of the tall grass will be loud enough for us to hear too…

20151101_133901 20151021_072818We’ll follow them to the edge of reason and back, again and again, we’ll walk a few steps behind, and when all silliness is done for the day we’ll all breathe in the sunset and keep that breath in long enough to remember.

Everything. The steps to here. The leap from here…

 

Raising Boys In A Factual World. Notes From Our School

sunIt’s Friday and sunny. Little boy has his midday piano class and the tune of ‘Hot cross buns’ flows around the living room and trails all over the house, chasing big brother outside where he can read ‘The story of science’ without any hot buns crossing his mind.

The topics of today were bones and the wonder of movement. We ran barefoot and then with shoes, we noticed how our heads and their content shook uncomfortably as we landed on our heels and then we discovered how the body knows what to do when you let it do its thing. Barefoot? Worth trying (though in Kamloops some running trails require some separation between you and cacti; they truly are merciless.)

Boys and sun chasing each other around the back yard, learning about feet, bones and joints, backbones and postures and why breathing and walking and feeling light in the head and heart are so intrinsically and magically related.

Why does it take more effort to sit with your back straight? Why does it get easier as you do it more?

We’re indulging in bad posture until we don’t notice anymore. But our bodies know what’s right. Slouching, bad attitude, giving up before you start, they are related. Can you slouch when you walk? Not for long. When you choose to have a good posture, your body becomes more flexible and your movement fluid.

Little boy says with confidence ‘Mom, I do not find skeletons creepy anymore. They really cannot stand or walk in real life, they just can’t since there are no joints…’ A perfect conclusion! Right in time for Halloween. Knowledge is power, now the boys see why.

The week was rife with learning: math, geometry, plant physiology, reading short stories and learning words. I love hearing the sweet impressions upon reading, I love seeing my boys’ thoughts come out in words that describe what they read and see while reading.

‘The description of pines covered in that first snow, Mom, I love reading descriptions like that because I can see it right in front of me…’ The love of books and stories is the one the boys will hold close forever.

worldGiftsWe learn of the place we live in through morning hikes. How much can you see on a given morning? They write lists upon returning: downy woodpeckers, red squirrel, magpies, robin, Saskatoon bushes, dried up arrow-leaf balsam root, kinnickinnick, juniper, bunchgrass, snowberries, prickly-pear, clouded sulphur butterfly, big leaf maple. I get gifts of beautiful rusty maple leaves.

Tomorrow we will see more or less. No two days are the same.

No day of learning is the same either. We learn about being kind, considerate, remember that one person’s perspective is but that: one person’s perspective. Facts take it from subjective to objective.

Facts of life. No judging, no assuming, no making someone self-conscious but allowing them to keep their dignity, as we keep ours, by stating facts and allowing space for people to find solutions.

For three days in a row, the boys snuggle together to read about the gold rush. They giggle, wonder at how it all happened and ask each other ‘would you have done it?’… Eyes rolling side to side, looking for the right answer, reading some more and … time to play outside. There’s so much of the day left still. Learning of a different kind, though playing and figuring things out, through seeing things that we learn about in our little school.

‘Mom, I can never look at leaves the same way. They are so much more than just leaves…’ Reverence.

‘Are we eating cells when we eat fruit and veggies just like that?’

togetherReverence makes room for humbleness. There’s so much to learn, yet it’s through the small steps that our minds dare take the greatest leaps towards places unknown. Curiosity. More learning… to open eyes, to reach hearts – our own in the first place, to understand that life is precious in all aspects of it.

To make moments, days, time with each other, with ourselves, with life itself, worth it.

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