The world changes so fast, I sometimes wonder what my children remember of what I taught them. What power, after all, does a parent have?
Having been a teacher of pre-schoolers to college students and adults, I’ve learned to be humble about what I can accomplish. Again and again, I’ve seen: What people remember more than anything else, is what their parents taught them. Those teachings embed themselves so deeply within a child’s mind and heart, they stay there for a lifetime.
The power of a parent is no small thing. It’s huge.
I remember skipping down an Oregon forest trail, following in my father’s footsteps. He stopped to point out a licorice plant growing out of a tree stump and had me pull a bit of the root to smell and even nibble on. Sure enough! Tasted like licorice!
With Dad, nature was also fun. Playing hide-and-seek in the woods, breathlessly crouching behind a tree, then jumping out to surprise him (at least, I thought I did). Or singing goofy songs around a campfire. Or swimming in a mountain stream.
Dad also taught me the wonder of nature. Like lying in our red canoe, floating down the Willamette River, dreamily watching the clouds changing from castles to dragons. Seeing millions of stars in the Oregon high desert while Dad told stories. Hunkering down on a stormy night on a sand dune hearing the pounding of ocean waves.
Next time my grandsons, Liam and Aeden come from their home in Virginia to visit, we’ll go to Neshaminy Creek to skip stones, see the little snails along the bank, and sit on the tree trunk that grows so crooked horizontally, it makes a perfect “kid” seat.
Thanks, Dad, for sharing with me the knowledge, the fun, the wonder of nature… and for what I was able to pass on to my children, and now, to your great-grandchildren that you never met. I’ve never been a dad , but I had a great dad. I had you! Happy Father’s Day.
Remembering what it was to be your little girl,
Feel free to email me your environmental tips and questions!