Yesterday it rained….. Not just a shower or two, but that constant all day rain, type of rain. A beautiful day! (Many I’m sure would add a disclaimer in there something along the lines of “If you’re home tucked up in bed, and watching movies”.)
I didn’t think so much about it all as it was happening throughout the day – but when I came home last night, I was drawn to reflection on the way things have changed for me. It doesn’t feel like all that long ago (and I suppose in retrospect, it isn’t), that to wake up on a “school day” to the sound of rain, brought with it dread and a feeling of impending doom about the day ahead…… oh no! to be “trapped indoors with room full of children” ALL day! The stuff that nightmares are made of!
But what happened yesterday? Well, the children came in……. The doors stayed open……. Some came in their raincoats and gum-boots……. Others came in old clothes and bare feet. You see – rain these days doesn’t mean what it used to. Rain these days means a whole DIFFERENT world to explore. One that is laden with wonder when you are a child (and even too when you are an adult). When everything is dripping with water, when the ground changes completely, where muddy puddles beckon……
Almost always these days – playing (aka working) with children, sends me on those walks down memory lane…… the ones where I think about all the memories I have from my own childhood. It never used to. It used to be a far cry from that. A rainy day used to mean the dread of continually having to deal with children’s caged up energy….. finding ways to keep them “amused”, while they couldn’t go out to play….. bringing out all the tricks in the book, just to get through the day…… being even MORE restrictive about what they could and couldn’t do. I shudder – and I send out my sincerest heartfelt apology to all those children I ever “did that to”.
So….. I come back to my own childhood once again. I didn’t intentionally go here yesterday, it just happened for me. Because once again, I think when we work with children authentically, and give them the freedom that childhood SCREAMS that we must…… it’s actually quite an automatic thing. Because we start seeing from children, those little things that provoke our memories, and bring them out from behind all the cobwebs we let accumulate while we were too busy “doing to” children.
So as I watched a group of Toddler aged children (two and under), head off into the great outdoors – umbrellas overhead, bare feet, and smiles that were just way too big for those little tiny faces…… I went back….. I remembered as a child walking down the road in the flooding gutter. I remember the way the water just poured down like a raging torrential river. I remember seeing things floating by in that water, and then being intrigued to see what else the water would carry away. Taking sticks, seedpods, leaves, flowers from the garden (oops!), and whatever else wasn’t tied down – I’m quite sure that a thong or two over time also went floating down the road river. I remember learning that rocks didn’t get carried down on the water – that they just plopped into place……. Same with bricks. I remember that I learned that paper floats by…… and I remember that some time my dad had built me a little paper boat…… so using my own make shift kind of origami, I would make little boats to float down that river…… No idea how to do it “right”, but doing it through the sheer determination of wanting to have a paper boat to sail…… a little boat that would take a huge amount of time to make, only then to be sucked down into the waiting drain after a triumphant 10 second launch and trip – a journey abruptly ended.
Ah yes…… those were the days indeed! And yet, why was it for a period of time, that I seemed to think that my memories were not the way the world was supposed to be? Why did I get flipped around in some sort of “stay safe” “take no risks” “don’t do anything that somebody might frown upon” kind of way of doing things?
Those days of my memories still ARE the days. Children STILL deserve to have a childhood. One that is free from adult agendas, one that wakes their curiosity, one that provokes learning in a truly authentic, and for a child – UNDERSTANDABLE way. I want the children I play alongside to get to the stage of life I am now at – and remember back to the time they were given a HUGE umbrella, and they got to walk outside with the rain beating down on it, while they stayed somewhat dry. I want them to remember pulling that umbrella back for a time, and putting their face up to the sky – feeling the cool rain on their skin, and the taste of the world pouring into them. I want them to remember stepping into puddles, and splashing water at their friends. But most of all – I just want them to remember…….
…….because memories are made of experiences – not standing at a door staring out into a world that you are not allowed to enter.
“We don’t remember days, we remember moments…” ~ Cesare Pavese