Thursday, November 15, 2012

Parenting Tips: Kids Are More Like Leaves Than Snow

By Deborah Pace Rowley

We have a beautiful yard with over 30 mature trees. We were attracted to this lot in the first place because of the trees. Of course, we looked at the lot in the spring when all the trees were budding and NOT in the fall when the leaves from all 30 trees were falling.

A few days ago when I was raking for what seemed like the 50th time, I compared my feelings for  raking leaves to shoveling snow. We also have a large circular driveway that surrounds our pond and a north facing house that doesn't get a lot of sun in the winter. When it snows, the snow doesn't go away on its own. I probably spend more time raking than I do shoveling each year but that doesn't matter. I would MUCH rather rake leaves than shovel snow.

Some of the reasons for this are obvious. Fall is beautiful especially when the temperatures are mild and the sun is shining. It feels great to be outdoors in the last warm days of Fall. Winter is freezing especially when you have to shovel snow at 5 a.m. to get everyone out the door on time.

But the main reason that I prefer raking leaves to shoveling snow is that I have a goal in mind. Each year we rake up 80 bags of leaves. After 80 bags of leaves are filled, all the trees are bare, every leaf is down and we are done! I like counting up the number of bags we fill each weekend. 10 more bags filled. Now our total is 40 bags. Halfway done! 60 bags, we are getting closer every day.

Snow, on the other hand, doesn't give me a number or any way to count. How do I know how many times I have to shovel? How do I know how many days this winter that it will snow? Because I don't have a goal in mind, each time I shovel snow I feel miserable. How many more months am I going to have to do this? Utah isn't even reliable in that regard. Maybe in some places you can count on being done shoveling in March. In Utah it has been known to snow in April and sometimes even in May!

So what is the point? I think we need to compare raising our children to raking leaves and not to shoveling snow. Yes, some days are hard, but they are numbered. It isn't like we don't know when it is going to end. We have just 17 or 18 years with our little ones and then they are gone. All those toys that we are tripping over, all those diapers we are changing, all those noses we are wiping, will soon be in the past.    

This holiday season I want to do more to enjoy the limited time I have with my children. Have you  ever counted how many more Christmases you have with all of your children home? Or how many more Thanksgiving dinners you have with your parents? It probably isn't many. Savor each and every day as the gift that it is. Raking leaves is the price I have to pay to enjoy such a beautiful and peaceful yard. Changing diapers, cleaning the house, caring for little ones is the price we pay to have the family we love around us. And it is so very worth it.

I found this button on the cutest blog called "Hey Mommy, Chocolate Milk." Isn't this a powerful reminder? Check out more of Julie's great mothering ideas here.
Just remember: Before you put all those leaves in a bag, jump in a pile of them first!

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