There’s a reason why I’m not a teacher. Namely, because I don’t really like kids all that much. Okay, so I like MY kids pretty good (don’t get me wrong, we have our days), but for the most part, I could really do without other people’s kids. Alright, alright, there are some of A-Man’s friends who I dearly love and even though they don’t know it, I think they are going to be amazing, awesome people when they get all grown up. So, okay, I like a few kids, but not very many, and that’s why I’m not a teacher.
However, when you go making the decision to have a baby (or babies, as the case may be) you inadvertently sign up for at least minimal teaching duties. And by minimal, I mean full-on, 24-hour-a-day, round-the-clock, teach-this-kid-what-he-needs-to-know-to-get-through-life, teaching duties. You would think that just that one, simple thought would be such a more effective form of birth control than it actually is, but I digress. The point is, if you’re going to have kids, you have to teach them something. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your life waiting for a couple of little dumbasses to grow up and move out. So, yeah, gotta teach them something. Got it?
Lately, we’ve been trying to actually take advantage of this wonderful little part of the country that we reside in and get outside of the safe and benign walls of our house. We live in western North Carolina and are surrounded by some of the most beautiful mountains and vistas, and some of the most numerous miles of hiking trails in the world. And although we’ve been here for about 10 years now, we have been woefully remiss in actually getting out and enjoying all that there is to be enjoyed. We’re kinda lazy like that. But you know, hey, we’re working on it.
Today, we decided to go for a hike with the kids and the dog. Our dog, Ophelia, is still a puppy and is in the process of learning to walk on a leash. Hiking in the woods is turning out to be a great way to train her to walk on-leash, because there are so many fewer distractions than walking on the street in the city. So, Hubbo & I, both kids and the dog set off for the woods.
Now, home-schoolers know that there is an educating opportunity in everything. I am not a home-schooler. And honestly, I don’t try to turn everything into a lesson for my kids. I figure that if they’re enjoying something, engaging in something, talking about something that they’re learning by proxy and there’s no reason to go telling them that they’re learning something and risk spoiling it all. I call this “practical parenting.” Actually, I just made that up, but it works, so go with it.
Okay, so making that picture work up there took me about two days and I’ve sort of lost hold of the point of this post. But I do know that it’s supposed to be about the hidden learning opportunities that can be found on a hike in the woods. But since we’ve already established that a teacher I am not, I won’t pretend that I can accomplish this task without getting distracted and side-tracked and totally going off topic.
Where was I? Learning opportunities. Hidden in the woods. Okay. So… we found some.
What did we learn? Well, A-Man learned that he enjoys a more rugged hike as opposed to a flat walk along the river. The dog learned a little more about walking on the leash. Hubbo & I learned that most people in the woods do not bother to put their dogs on a leash, which is a serious pain the ass when you’re trying to keep control of your own dog. And Mags learned that 2.5 miles is about her limit for hiking with a good attitude.
Ah, yes. There are hidden learning opportunities everywhere. But I find them to be infinitely more successful when I do not open my big mouth and point them out.