It’s no great secret that some of the wisest people on earth are kids, and if we’d only take the time to listen to them, really listen, we could remember all the important things we’ve forgotten.
Moments with our children make great memoiries. Here’s one about an ordinary afternoon with my son that turned out to be quite special. I certainly gained some wisdom that day.
Our son, David, was four.
It was a beautiful fall Saturday and I choose to skip the Wisconsin Badger football game to get a lot done around the house. Also, to give my wife a break from being a mom, I offered to take David with me all day as I checked off my “to do” list.
One of my objectives that day was to plant some tulip bulbs in the front of house, between the sidewalk and the house. I love the concept of doing some work and seeing the fruits of that labor for years to come. Picturing the house on a beautiful day inspired me to purchase “slightly” more bulbs than I was going to. Twelve dozen instead of two dozen!
Back home, trowel in hand, and one for David…I realized that this was going to be a lengthy process. Far more time than I had budgeted. Also, I wanted to be sure that the tulips bloomed at the same time and digging 144 individual holes wouldn’t insure that they would all be uniform. (Starting to get the idea that I’m a little anal?)
So, David and I started digging and cleared out an area about the size of two kitchen tables. We dug and scooped all the dirt over onto the sidewalk and I measured to be sure that the depth was uniform throughout this area. As you can imagine, David’s work ethic and ability was exactly that of a three year old, although somehow I was surprised by this…getting a little frustrated that this project was taking forever and he was perhaps, not as “efficient” as me. To be honest, I really lost sight of the importance of quality time with him as the primary objective in favor of making sure my tulip project was perfect.
We organized and placed all the tulips in order, same depth, perfect spacing, right depth, sprinkled some fertilizer, and then carefully put the dirt back onto the tulips so not to disrupt them and the soldier- like order they had fallen into. We scooped and shoveled all of the dirt from the sidewalk back into place, smoothed it over, washed down the sidewalk, the shovels and our hands. I think we gave up on our clothes as they had become one with the earth.
As my little project had now taken until dusk, David came over and hugged my leg, looked up at me and said, “Dad, you are such a good helper.” Wow! I hugged him back and wondered what my hurry was, or how/why I had gotten frustrated along the way that afternoon. My perspective changed immediately, and I realized that this was his project, and I was simply helping him advance this along.
The lessons to be learned are profound. For me, I gained some wisdom that day. Our kids are observing us all the time, and that you never know the time(s) and place(s) that an opportunity for a memoiry to occur. This is one of my favorite memoiries of being a dad. Thanks David for teaching me something that day.