Over the past few weeks, with the holiday of Martin Luther King Day and the snow days, I found myself outside looking around and asking, “Where did all of the children go?” I remember the days that we would be outside on snow days … all day long. We were frozen from head to toe and loving every minute of it. With the occasional pit stop back to my friend’s house- where hot chocolate loaded with marshmallows waited for us as, we scored another pair of dry gloves and a change of socks. We were ushered outside and reminded that we needed to be back inside by dusk!
I found myself, of course, like many of us do, sharing this story of mine to my two sons, when I was convincing them to walk to the park to go ice skating and sledding. They wanted me to drive them, pack them a lunch, probably even build them a fire, if I didn’t interject with a “Really? No, you can walk, here’s some water, and scoot, have some fun.” Luckily, they do love to play outside in the snow but they are pretty spoiled as well, and I guess really it is my fault after all. So, I decided to do something about it.
I guess, you could say, that I am trying to get them to be more independent and more importantly to think independently to figure out how to do things on their own. They figured it out. They loaded up their glider with their hockey net, stuck their skates through their hockey sticks and marched on down to the park- together. They had a blast. Five hours later, I was more than happy to pick them up in my car. They were cold and hungry, but I heard no complaining, just contentment and joy. I was even happier to see that they made a few new friends, were still smiling and had a great day playing outside away from video games and TV shows that they so easily are sucked into if I don’t intervene.
Technology is great. It’s fun to play games, it’s a great convenience for us but it is also important to remember to have old fashioned fun outdoors. Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, we have to continue to encourage our children to love and cherish playing outside and away from mind numbing video games.
I believe making human connections is fundamental to living a fulfilling and good life. Times are different nowadays, but friendships and enjoying time spent hanging out with one another is vital to building a strong and connected community. Our children, and adults for that matter, need those times together. But I am finding that we, as adults, actually need to create those environments for them because they are going away as we become a more cocooned society. Sometimes, we as a society nowadays, come home from school or work, and cocoon in our homes for hours and days, playing, working and even shopping online, never stepping outside.
I love this weather. Yes, it is cold outside, but it gives me an opportunity to bundle up, get outside and enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors. I enjoy connecting with my neighbors, as we are all shivering, while shoveling and scraping the snow and ice formations off of our sidewalks and driveways. We also become more neighborly, by pitching in and helping to shovel each other out.
So I encourage you to get outside, have some fun and get to know your children, their friends, your neighbors, and your local business owners for that matter. You never know the conversations and great connections that you could make and the lasting friendships that will help connect you to the greater good in each of us. Enjoy the winter, and be sure to bundle up and stay warm.
Melynda Wagner is a devoted Mom, local business owner and amateur writer dedicated to building relationships, making connections with others and sharing her stories with others along the way. She is co-owner of French Creek Boutique located in Elverson on Rt. 23. www.frenchcreekboutique.com