Friday – a beautiful early December morning. the sun was bright, the sky blue, as a group of Play Shoppers headed down the walking path to decorate our tree for the birds. We were a small group but a merry one – industrious and purposeful as we set about hanging the treats on the full branches of the big evergreen.
We hung pine cones with peanut butter, rolled in bird seed, slices of oranges and apples, a big cardboard, cut-out star, smothered with peanut butter, cranberries and popcorn, and marshmallows hung with colorful yarn.
Once our tree was adorned we walked further down the path to a picnic table for hot chocolate, rice krispie bars and a story shared. By then we all were feeling the chill, so we set off to explore – doing some running and follow-the- leader to warm us up – which we all agreed, worked.
Afterwards I felt glowing the rest of the day – brisk air and outdoor activity does that for you.
But something else resonated with me from our morning outing. As we were finishing up our tree decorating, I noticed Laine, a little four-year-old girl reach in and pick up the last of the two ornaments. As she turned to run toward the tree, Oliver eagerly approached and saw that the basket of things to be hung was empty.
I watched to see what would happen. Laine stopped, looked at him, holding the two pinecones in her hands, considered for a moment, and then handed one of them to him as they both ran off to find a good hanging spot.
I guess that might be why I love activities we do together. We worry a lot about teaching our children to share. But it’s communal opportunities like this – where all are involved to accomplish a task – (in this case, offering and sharing food to our feathered friends and a few bushy squirrels, too, I bet,) that plants the seed that sharing is fun, easy and the right thing to do.