Thursday, October 04, 2012

free to be

We spent the last fleeting days of official summer tucked into a perfect little anchorage off the Wye River with a gaggle of other boat kids.
The kiddos hopped from kayak to rowing dinghy to RIB with an outboard easily and swiftly like land kids might hop off the swings and head over to the monkey bars. They fished and crabbed and mucked around the shore line full of adventure and imagination and mischief. 

We watched from the mother ships with the little ones, wondering what those monkey kids were saying and planning, and yet just as happy not to know. It's their time, their world, their adventure to have on their own terms.

There are so, so many books and articles and TED talks preaching the need for kids to have unstructured outside time, unfettered play, contact with nature  (here are two if you are up for some good reading, from Psychology Today and from Orion Magazine). I am grateful each and every day that we don't have to plan or carve out that goal, it's just our everyday life. In our family, the problem is convincing the kids to come inside or convincing them to eat at the table instead of on the dock or up in the stack pack. We have to plan "inside time" to get chores and such finished up. The kids truly live an outside life, close to nature, and free to be. I watch them go and go and without toys or planned activities they seize the planet and their imagination and grow stronger for it. I love that freedom outdoors, yet the safety of a community planted around us, is part of their very core. One of the many reasons I love this life afloat.

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