A Few of My Favorite Things

Posted on August 6, 2014 under Storytelling with 3 comments


Site of MacCormick’s tree rope swing



“Kick a stone, down the road,

Run and catch the wind

Theme song:  “Up ,Up With People”  ( The Up With People Movement )


So, how do you get your children to sleep at night?

Over the generations, this has been discussed and debated.  There have been volumes of books written on the subject and countless articles in parenting magazines.  But no one ever asked me, so I am going to give you the definitive answer.

The other day, my daughter commented (gleefully!) that her two year old daughter had slept the entire night.  This was stated with something bordering on incredulity.  What had her daughter done that day that so altered her flight path into bed?  A careful inquisition unearthed the fact that her child had spent a good deal of the day outdoors.

I was walking to work recently when I found myself kicking a stone.  Good thing no one noticed.  At least no one alerted the authorities.  This simple act, so ingrained in my persona, was something we all did as children.  Even when there wasn’t anyone to play with, you could kick a stone to alleviate boredom.  It was all so simple back then.

When was the last time you waded through a field of hay that was up to your chest?   Or how about experiencing the bitter taste of an un-ripened crab apple?   Do you remember climbing up a tree to survey the vast universe in front of you?  Or soaring to the heavens on the MacCormick’s tree swing?

Do kids build tree houses anymore?  Fort building was a rite of passage when I was a child.  You didn’t have to go far to find the forest for the trees.  With the preponderance of softwood trees for building material you invariably got spruce gum stuck on your hands, which mysteriously turned black.  Occasionally we tried chewing the spruce gum.  Most of us decided that Double Bubble was much more pleasing to the palate.

Do you remember chestnuts bursting from their burrs in the autumn of the year?  We drilled holes in them to make necklaces.  I can still easily recall the smell.

We tossed balls back and forth and played every imaginable game and sport … all without adult supervision.  There was no such thing as parents duking it out over their kid not getting enough playing time.  Any skirmishes were handled democratically and privately by the kids themselves.

Businesses are forever doing cost benefit analyses.  What cost inputs are required to get the desired benefits?

There is no cost to simple play while the benefits are priceless.  So, here is the ultimate solution for getting your children to bed.  Run them ragged outdoors and fill their bellies with fresh air.  Present them with some of life’s simple pleasures.  You might want to join in occasionally, just for old time’s sake.  And if they have a smidgen of fight left in them as they stagger to bed, read them a story or two.

Move over Julie Andrews.  These are a few of my favorite things.



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