The Little Things Matter

  by Erik Wolgemuth

I’ve met few creeks in my life that I haven’t wanted to dam.

That’s probably an odd admission, but I have memories deep into my childhood of stacking rocks, plugging holes and working to expand the banks and depths of streams. And, as long as this is dam-admission-time, I built a bit of a doozy this past summer in a mountain stream with my kids.

Have I ever truly benefitted from a nicely dammed stream? Not that I can recall. So, what’s the point of this? What could possibly be the motivation behind it? On a night not too long ago, I think I stumbled upon the answer to these questions.

At dadcraft, we’ve shared a variety of thoughts about how days end with your kids, and in our household we try to keep to a fairly regular order of nighttime events including some reading. The duration of time spent reading fluctuates, but I try to get at least a chapter or two read of a book to the kids before they tuck in for the night.

And so, on a recent evening, we were discovering the world of the Boxcar Children in their first book (which subsequently sets the Alden children off on roughly 200 adventures in a remarkable demonstration of unending, inexhaustible childhood). This was a series I devoured and wished to live in (no offense, Mom and Dad) when I was a kid. Living in a boxcar on your own with your siblings? Adopted by a billionaire, doting grandfather? Adventuring constantly? Come on… Reading to my kids was going as expected until I hit chapter eight of The Boxcar Children: “A Swimming Pool at Last”. This is a chapter wherein young Henry and Benny proceed to dam a small creek to makeshift a perfect swimming hole to go along with their boxcar existence. And suddenly things just became a bit clearer (and saved some psychologist bills) for me.

Now don’t worry, this post doesn’t transition at this point to what I saw in a recent Rorschach inkblot test…instead, I’ve just been reflecting on the power of this minor nightly activity of reading. Of the stirring of imaginations. Of challenging the small world that my kids know and helping them see something much bigger.

Whether it’s reading or listening to music or fishing or home improvement projects with your kids – don’t let the seeming insignificance of the event lull you into believing it’s unimportant. The placement of ideas and thoughts and experiences can take root in young minds and linger for years…until they’re adults…damming up a perfectly good stream just for the sheer joy of it.

Got a couple hours to enjoy prior to bedtime? Can’t go wrong with a little LCR gaming with the kiddos. And if your kids aren’t ready for chapter books yet, (and, really, even if they are) Mamoko picture books are always a hit.

Picture by Andrew Spencer; Used via Unsplash license.