A new month dawns, another season creeps in, the moon is full, the trees are bare, frost is on the pumpkins. The cycle of the natural world is dependable, beautiful and free for us to observe and appreciate. As parents, recognizing these wonders and assimilating them into our family’s traditions and activities, can instill a sense of trust, confidence and awe in our children’s hearts and minds.
In a world that revolves increasingly around virtual experiences, it is even more urgent that we value what nature has to offer us. Every season has its beauty, its mystery and its gifts. We weave these treasures into our lives, often without realizing it, until a warm breeze, a red sky, the sound of the rain or the silence of the falling snow connects us to a memory still alive and meaningful somewhere inside of us. For our children, it is this repetition and predictability in the natural world, as well as our own family rituals, that helps build sensitivity, strength and resilience in their core.
And then, when something goes wrong – when our confidence and reliance gets shaken – when something happens, like the death of the young child in our community last week, that can’t be explained or fully understood, it can be this continuity and constant of family, nature and faith that comforts and heals.
Last night my husband beckoned me to look out and see the beautiful moon hanging in the autumn sky. We love the full moon and never let it pass without due notice. But who doesn’t? From babyhood on, we look and wonder and point to the moon.
How could we imagine anything more magical than the moon as it waxes and wanes. I like the idea shared in the book, Walk When the Moon is Full. It suggests taking a walk each month on the night of the full moon – the same walk each time – perhaps just around your neighborhood. Every walk, the same walk, will amazingly look, feel, smell and sound differently – if we pay attention. To a child, this is a gift that could resonate throughout his/her life.
So let’s take advantage of the beauty that surrounds us. Stop for a minute and pick up the pine cones, look for four-leaf-clovers, welcome the snow, twirl in the leaves, listen to the wind, suck on an icicle, watch for the crocuses to bloom. We have the chance, as parents, to give our children a sense of wonder by rediscovering and sharing the beautiful, awe-inspiring gifts of nature.