On a recent walk through Central Park, the day after a heavy rainfall, I couldn’t help but notice the contrast between how differently the adults approached the puddle-soaked paths, compared to the children. All of the adults went out of their way to avoid the puddles at all costs, and understandably so. Who would want their designer footwear ruined by a muddy mess and who actually has time to stop and play along the way? The children, on the other hand, went out of their way to jump in the puddles and splash as much as possible, without a single regard for their footwear or their lost time. I noticed one little guy in particular who was chatting with his Dad and actually missed a puddle. He must have noticed it from the corner of his eye because when he finished his conversation, he ran back for one big jump before returning to his Dad. The look of satisfaction on his little face was a sight to behold! I could almost hear his inner voice saying, “Phew, thank goodness I didn’t miss that opportunity.”
Oh to be a child again! Children see life through very different lenses and it is important to afford them every opportunity to experience all the fun that regular, day-to-day living has to offer. As I think of the summer months ahead, and all the puddles that will undoubtedly be waiting to be jumped in, I recall one of my Principal’s Messages from a few years ago. It was based on an article entitled “I’m Done Making My Kid’s Childhood Magical.” The author compared her own childhood to that of her children and mused why modern parents put so much pressure on themselves to manufacture the perfect childhood for their children.
From Pinterest, to Instagram, to Mommy and Daddy Bloggers, we seem to be surrounded by ideas for executing the perfect life experiences for our children. As parents we can often be found in a stupor trying to make our children’s lives magical.
What camp? What activity? What craft? What sport? What tutoring service? What a shame that no one told us that children’s lives are inherently magical and we just have to allow them the time to make it happen. We need to stop teaching our children that the magic of life is something beautifully planned and wrapped but rather that it is something to discover on their own.
So over the next couple of months, instead of worrying about planning out the perfect summer days, let’s try to just leave it up to the children. They will find the perfect puddles and they will jump in them and have the time of their lives. Remember that our children are in fact the best magic-makers we know!
Have a wonderful summer!
Children’s Garden School