Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Things I want my kids to experience


I was thinking the other day about things I delighted in as a child (or later), and it got me making a list in my head of all the things I want to expose my kids to before they are teenagers and don't care what I think anymore. ;-) This list doesn't include the "big stuff" like self-love, love, confidence, etc. Some are more important to me than others, but they are in no particular order (that would take more brain power than I seem to have these days).

1. Pin wheels. Yeah..I just loved watching pinwheels spin on a breezy Spring day when I was a kid.

2. Sparklers. I generally want to keep my kids 100 feet or more away from anything that might be the least bit risky. And I know some parents who don't want their kids near these. But I used to love holding a sparkler in my hand when I was a kid. I loved anything that sparkled...still do.

3. Live music. This might seem like no-brainer to some. "Of course they're gonna hear live music". But it has been *ages* since I've heard live music. ;-) Hearing music live is a totally different animal from listening to the radio or cds. I get such a rush I hear music live, especially if everyone else around me is really into it too. It can be such a communal experience, too. Thank goodness for church, they do get to experience live music (and fabulous music at that) almost every Sunday.

4. Music lessons. These two music related things won't be difficult. Both of my children love music. THey're almost always singing something to themselves. And they both seem to have really good rhythm. Must get that from their dad. But music is in their genes. Kevin and I both love music and had lessons as young kids. Kevin kept at his music longer than I did. I never met his dad but he had quite an extensive and eclectic music collection. And my dad made sure I had piano lessons. He played tuba when he was younger, and when I was a kid he played the piano, harmonica and even sometimes the violin for us.

5. A folk festival. This will be hit or miss whether we'll get them to one of these before they're at an age to say, "No WAAAAY, Mom!". Again, I've only been to Falcon Ridge twice, and Newport once. But of all the live music experiences we could have together...this seems it would be the most potent...living in a community of music lovers for a whole weekend. My first time at Falcon Ridge was with my best girlfriend Karen. She set up the tent (with very little help from me. ;-). It was so neat to wake up to people jamming in the tent next to ours.

6. A faith community. Check. (Ok, so this counts as one of the "big things"...but we've actually got this one covered so I had to include it.)

7. Finger painting. Again, check. Mom got us a set for Christmas and promises to come over and help me with this undertaking.

8. Different cultures. Duh. Anyone who knows me knows this is big for me. I actually haven't had much experience with cultures very different from my own myself. But I think it enriches any person to know about and appreciate people in other parts of the world. It would be great if we could take vacations to other places. But in the meantime we try to get books, music and even toys that are from or at least influenced by people in other countries. (OK so this is another "big" one, but it manifests itself in 'small' ways...music, books, festivals, etc.).

I"m always looking for resources in the Boston area that will help me with this one. So if you're one of the 5 or so people who read this blog, please post them here. ;-)

8. Lots of time at the library. I haven't done very well with this so far. I'm without a car (and on crutches so walking isn't an option) during the week. And Saturdays just seem to fly by, and we haven't been to the library.

9. Cooking. This is a funny one for me, given how much I avoided the kitchen for the first 40 years of my life. But cooking is such fun, and you always read about how it helps kids develop healthy eating habits. So I need to work on finding ways to have them help me in the kitchen that don't overwhelm me. ;-)

10.Volunteering. I've never been very good about making time for this one either, but it is so important to our society, and world. And it just makes you feel so good...I think it will make them really happy.

11. Going to plays and musicals. I've always loved plays and (most) musicals. Kevin and I used to go to them more. I want my kids to have that experience..a lot.

12. The outdoors. We all know how good fresh air is for all of us. I guess I make note of this one because as of right now, I have to arrange to take my kids outside during the day. We don't have a fence yet, so if they go out, I need to invite another adult over to chase them, should they decide to run off. But beyond just getting them *out* whenever possible (even for snowman building, and snow angel making...I like these things, even if they happen during my most-hated season ;-)...I also want to get them out into expansive, unspoiled nature. That's one of the reasons I hope they'll love National Parks as much as we do...and the travel involved in getting to said parks. My dad loved nature. He was an avid bird-watcher, along with my mom. Growing up, I was nonplussed by nature. I'm glad I have matured. But I can't wait to see the kids get excited by seeing a deer in a place where we haven't encroached on her space.

There are so many other things I haven't thought of. Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments section. I'd really appreciate it, and I"ll probably add some to this list. :-)

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