...And pick up the pinecone, and touch the rock, and watch the worm, and step in the puddle... Next weekend is Thanksgiving here in Canada. It’s a holiday I cherish for many reasons. Not least of which is that science has proven that gratitude leads to happiness!
I also love Thanksgiving because it’s the kick-off weekend of my favourite season: autumn. I love the crisp air. I love the bright colours. And I'm also a sucker for a pumpkin spice latté. With the autumn season approaching it's made me think about a thanksgiving holiday weekend we had a few years ago, pre-COVID of course. We had spent a lot of time over the holiday weekend outdoors. We were at Blue Mountain (a recreational resort) for a couple of days and we spent the last day of the weekend visiting a local farm.
We didn’t ever have an agenda, or a particular place to be (other than family dinner on Sunday evening). That left Emma (my wife) and me completely open to take our time and let The Monkey (our 15-month-old daughter) explore everything nature had to offer her.We watched the fall colours blaze brighter and brighter over the weekend. We explored wooded glades, corn mazes, spelt fields, and pumpkin patches. We ate crisp apples and breathed the crisp air while the sun cut through the chill and kept us warm. The Monkey loved it all. She learned to walk three months ago, and she loves to explore—both places and objects.
Too often when we’re out and about, I put my own agenda and timeline before her need to explore. It’s rare that I can muster the patience to let her dawdle along and examine everything she finds along the way. But I can’t begin to count how many new things she got to experience over the weekend, all because we weren’t rushing. Her little, 15-month-old mind got an enormous helping of new sensory data to process, and plenty of time to process it. I know that will go a long way toward building a stable foundation for later learning.
For the first time in years I’m eager for the first snowfall of winter! Many of you have little ones who are about my daughter’s age—take time this fall and winter to let them fully experience what the seasons have to offer. It will do them more good than you can imagine!