The kids asked to go outside to play. This is more of a proclamation rather than a question because the the answer is always a resounding yes. During the winter they hadn’t been asking to play as often out in the yard on their own though, so it was a bit of a surprise. I was trying to get some work done and happily agreed.
They have autonomy of their own bodies and choose what they wear, although I usually encourage items; particularly in the colder months. I suggested they put on their snow gear to go play.
They decided to “check the weather” by going outside for a minute to see what would be appropriate gear.
The sun was shining, the sky was a beautiful cobalt blue and the snow had all but melted away. They stepped out and came back with smiling and dancing. “It’s Warm Out!!!,” they shouted and informed me that they didn’t need to put anything else on.
After acquiescing to not putting coats on and double checking that they in fact did not even need sweatshirts, I pushed for boots at least and they put them on and happily ran out to play.
A few minutes later, they come running in asking for mittens. They are trying to break the ice out of the water table and need mittens to get the it. As I stood in the open doorway putting on mittens, I got a chill – brr. At the same time, the oldest mused, “It’s funny that it’s still cold enough for ice, but warm enough to not need any coats or sweatshirts.” “Are you sure?” I asked but they were already back out.
After a little bit, I finished up what I was doing and glanced out at them, still happily playing on the swingset. I checked the weather on the computer. Current temperature: 26 degrees.
26 degrees is not what most people would consider warm. It’s not what I would consider warm. I had gotten a chill just from standing in the doorway. .
Granted the past few weeks had stubbornly stayed in the teens and single digits often accompanied by gusty winds. Today was in contrast, balmy and calm. I thought about the different responses to the same stimuli. We had all been out experiencing those temperatures together yet had very different perspectives. I saw the difference in the the day and still deemed it too cold. But to the minds of these children, an early spring had come.
It’s moments like this when I’m reminded of the lovely exuberance of youth and the ability to see the gifts right in front of us. Most people would have looked at that day and stayed inside because it was too cold. Heck, I had even opted to stay inside. In contrast, they saw it as a rare gift of sunshine and an opportunity to play. and so it was.
As parents, we are constantly imparting our knowledge and life lessons to make them better people. But if we are open and really listen; our children can teach us what our cynicism of age has forgotten; the real life lessons. Maybe we just need a shift in perspective.