Monthly Archives: June 2019

some of those times…

You wouldn’t think a cannon – a part of La Crosse history since 1900 – would be etched into the childhood memories of La Crosse children –  past and present.

But I believe it might be so.

For whenever there is a crowd at Riverside Park – for a concert or special event – this bronze cannon, made in Spain in 1787 – is bedecked by children.

It is an absolute favorite climbing apparatus – a challenge to any child to climb aboard, to hang off of.

And it lends itself perfectly to inclusion – the more children, the more fun.  Sometime as many as eight children line up atop.

And why am I so charmed by this sight?

No. 1,  it’s a daring feat for a child to manage – to climb aboard.  It speaks to adventure, to play in all its elements, to sharing, to excitement, to imagination, to accomplishment, to confidence, to trust.

For as parents/adults, we often worry what will the children do at outings that are not particularly catered just to young children.  Should we bring toys with us, snacks, or perhaps their hand-held devices?

However – left to their own imaginations, “their own devices” and sense of adventure, children will figure out something to do –  chasing, pretending, playing with sticks, stones, looking for imaginary treasures, searching for real treasures like rocks, feathers, bugs , spinning cartwheels, tumbling, picking dandelions –

… climbing on a cannon.

If we just let them.

For those are often the memorable times – the “remember when” times – when the kids figured it out – and the best time was had by all.

I bet you remember some of those times too!

 

 

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Day dreaming

The sky is so blue – the sun so bright – the breeze just right – and I am day dreaming.

And at moments like this – I am also the little sister, the young girl, the best friend, the new mother, the grandmother – and these memories that connect and weave are triggered by the sensations, the scents, the sounds and the colors of this day – and days gone by.

And it makes me wonder – what will our children remember from the sounds and images of their childhoods?

I think about our young grandsons, Theo and Zeke and the shared photos of them – almost always in the woods, along a creek, playing in sand and water, climbing, jumping, holding a stick.

And I imagine their senses will be continually reminded and connected to these natural experiences as they grow.

Laughter shared, food cooked and enjoyed, sounds in the household and on the block – music heard, songs sung, books read, words remembered – all can remind us and our children of our times together.

After a stressful week recently, I was at the river and heard the sound the water made as it lapped against the bulkhead.

And I was immediately transferred to the beach I grew up on – and the delicate sound the sea made as it lapped on to the shore.

And I was so grateful for that recall.

We never know what will stick in our minds –  in our children’s minds – but we hope they are the good memories – the good sounds – the genuine  laughs – that flow into their daydreams – years from now – just by a  sound, a scent, or a breeze.

Day dreams – save some time for them.

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eye check

This morning I happened to hear a brief interview with Andre De Shields, a 73-year-old Broadway Veteran actor who won his 1st Tony award last night.

And I mention this because when they asked him about his success, one of the things he shared was “Surround yourself with people whose eyes light up when they see you coming.”

And I thought – of course – for all of us – wouldn’t that be lovely?

But, for our children, wouldn’t that be exceptional?

When children feel positive about their significance, about our caring,  about our interest in them –  without any doubt – just by the way we listen to them, respond to them, look at them,  our connection with them is secure.

Because our eyes say it all.

Imagine talking to someone who doesn’t look up from what they are doing, reading, texting – whose eyes are only full on and direct when you are being scolded.

As parents, we are always searching for the most perfect method of parenting to get our children to listen to us, obey us and stop doing this or that. But sometimes that’s what misbehavior is all about – seeking that warm acknowledgment – that feeling  “I’m listened to – fully “ that “I matter”  –  “eyes light up when they see you coming” feeling.

So… try it.

We could all stand to take an “eye check” today.

Make it a point to respond to your child with strong eye contact when he/she is speaking to you, when he/she is coming to you.

I’m betting you’ll see success.

 

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on your mark …

On your mark – get set – go!

That’s what it was all about this past weekend of competition at the WIAA State Track and Field Meet here at UWL.

And I smile to myself as I see on the news the celebration and sheer appreciation of these disciplined and impressive young people.

For as parents of young children, haven’t we all spent countless words and energy to keep them from running, jumping, and fast movements of any kind?

Yet – children were not born to be still.  From the very first roll-over, to crawling, first steps and beyond, children’s bodies were made to move.

So, maybe the answer is to make sure our children actually have the time and opportunities to do so – on their own time, in their own way.

And rather than a time-out or a constant reminder to sit still and stop, we let our children run.  As parents – as school districts –  we provide the independent time every day for them to skip, run ahead, jump, and chase – and we cheer them on.

And then when we need them to listen  – carefully –  be still, wait – they will have the ability to do so.

La Crosse has reached out across the city to provide so many new playgrounds for children to explore and climb and jump.  There are so many hiking trails to romp on – but don’t forget simple games like backyard tag and Red light, Green Light and plain old chasing games that children make up on their own.

It’s all about celebrating and believing  in the freedom of movement that children crave.

And who knows – someday your children might also be performing in the State Track and Field Meet.

And you can remember when they were little and how they loved to run and jump!

 

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