Journal 1/23/19: In Pursuit of Knowledge- Kids in the Woods

There are a lot of things you can send your kids to do or do with them. It can be overwhelming!

I would argue that your kids likely don't need more "organized" anything, more rules to remember, more adults hovering over them. They don't need to "learn" more, in the traditional sense. They don't need a more rigid schedule, more expectations. 


Imagine an environment where a child is inspired by a story of a lifesaving fire- of it's warmth, light and protection. The story is filled with opportunity to wonder about outcomes and picture himself as the hero, the Fire Tender. 

"Protect the Fire, Protect the People"

With a renewed sense of responsibility and an awareness of the good that can be accomplished (if he could just harness the power of fire), he sets out into the woods to try to decipher what items will burn. What will work as tender, what will light quickly or burn slowly? Armed with what he deems the perfect mix, he rushes back, clears a dirt area and digs a hole.... just like in the story. He is picturing the wolves surrounding him, remembering the intensity of that moment. He can hear the twigs snapping in his head, hear the bone-chilling howl. He MUST start this fire! Grabbing a flint from the pile he begins striking. No luck. He repositions his hands and tries again. Still nothing. He is frustrated. He flips the flint in his hand, recalls the story. Determined, that little boy puts every effort into one more hard strike. It sparks! Now he is bought in.... he has created something from nothing.

Strike, Strike, Smoke.... Strike, Strike, Smoke.... blowwwww.

The tiniest flame pops up. Quickly, he grabs the driest, brownest, most crumbly thing he has. It works! A flame jumps. He drops on sticks. The flame disappears. Eep! He blows gently, moves stuff around, goes back to the thing that worked at first and tries a new approach. No one steps in. No one tells him what to do. No one says "No not those sticks!" With the gentlest of care, he nurses his fire... he feeds it, rests it, gives it exactly what it needs. What is he learning in this moment- The give and take of life, maybe? Problem solving? Working through frustration? Lessons in fatherhood?


Imagine the world where kids pursued knowledge like this, connecting with the experience in a meaningful way.