I want you to think about your childhood. What are the experiences you most remember? Who did you most look up to?
I grew up hunting, fishing and being in the outdoors. Some of my fondest memories of childhood are being in the outdoors. My brother and I would be out in the lawn or garden, but most of all we loved to hunt mushrooms with dad and grandpa. It’s that time of the year and here in Lincoln we finally have some rain, which is required for the short-seasoned morel mushroom to thrive.
This past weekend it was a near perfect 70 degree day and my oldest son had a birthday party to attend, so I thought I’d take the younger two boys outdoors and continue the tradition of looking for mushrooms. We came up short in the arena of fungi, but I was astounded at how much fun it was to be in the outdoors without a care in the world. Our hunt soon became a hike and presented many learning opportunities for the boys as they trudged along trying to match my stride. Apparently, walking through bramble bushes is made much more difficult when you’re barely three feet tall and in shorts.
Almost immediately we chased up a deer in full stride running to the North. This led us to exploring animal tracks in the still moist and unplanted farm ground as we headed to the creek bottom. It seemed at every turn there were new tracks, squirrels, birds calling out, trees and nests to point out. Ethan was picking up walnuts and throwing them from the edge of the field back into the woods. I explained to him that those were walnuts and he looked at me with a grin and said, “No dad, they’re snowballs.” I laughed. Tyler decided to do a little digging in the field, while Ethan played nearby and enjoyed a fallen log playground of sorts. It wasn’t long before Tyler was in the mix with Ethan but there was plenty of room and neither child ended up in the other’s personal space. While playing, I noticed two turkeys watching us play until they decided to strut the other direction.
Our family is fortunate that we have access to farm ground in and around Lincoln to traipse around on when we feel the need, but anyone can get outdoors on public lands and parks.
Please take the time to get outside and enjoy springtime with your family. Not only is it healthy but it is enjoyable and can present many learning opportunities not found within the school walls. Just think of the memories yet to be made waiting outside!
Babies, Toddlers, & K-12
My beautiful wife Valerie and I have three children, all boys, under the age of five. Abram is our oldest, Ethan followed Abram in 2010, and then we were surprised in 2011 with the birth of our third and final son, Tyler. I am a certified elementary teacher and currently stay home with the boys.