Many years ago, parenting and homeschooling could sometimes seem rather overwhelming, Some days my children refused to do what I asked. Or everyone needed me at exactly the same moment. Or I felt so tired I didn't want to do anything at all. It sometimes became too much and I wanted to run away. "I've had enough!" I'd yell before running outside.
I'd sit on the garden wall, my body stiff with tension. Then gradually as I calmed down, I'd notice the warm sunshine soaking into my skin, and the flowers blooming alongside the wall. I'd glance up and see my children peering nervously at me through the window. Then all of a sudden, I'd jump up and shout: "Make some sandwiches. We're going on a picnic!"
The crisis was over. I'd remembered what was most important: my children. We were a family. We were supposed to enjoy each other. And that's exactly what we were going to do: We were going to leave the problems at home and go on a picnicking adventure.
Eventually I left that stressful life behind. I stopped trying to make my kids do things other people thought important. Instead I listened to my children and their needs. And my own. Of course by that time, I'd discovered unschooling.
These days I rarely get all worked up over unimportant things. But we still go on picnics. We go on lots of them. I don't wait until we need a break from our routine before suggesting we set off on an adventure. I try to take advantage of every suitable picnic moment.
We grab the picnic basket and fill it with food. We pack the sunscreen and make sure we have our cameras. Of course Nora is coming too. She climbs into the car and stretches her long doggy body on the middle seat next to Charlotte. Sophie and Gemma-Rose are in the back, and Imogen is in the front. We are ready. Off we go!
Soon we are at the park.
Imogen hands out sandwiches filled with potato salad and ham and cheese.
Charlotte fills cups with coffee or icy cold water.
Then we eat.
And when we can't fit in another mouthful, we go for a walk.
We take photos...
and each other.
When we go on a picnic, we get outside and enjoy nature: We observe flowers and birds and trees, and how everything changes with the seasons. We practise our photography skills. We stroll along paths and down bush trails, breathing in fresh air and exercising our legs. And while we are doing all of this, we talk and talk about all kinds of things. We link arms and smile. We soak up all the pleasure of living in the moment. We love and enjoy and the bonds between us grow stronger.
And that's why picnics are important.
So when was the last time you went on a picnic? Do you have a favourite picnic place? And what do you like to pack into your picnic basket for lunch?
|The Angels of Abbey Creek|
I've just created a new Stories of an Unschooling Family Facebook page. I thought it makes sense to have a page with the same name as my blog instead of posting all my extra blog stuff on my Sue Elvis Write Facebook page.