On Easter Sunday, I learned a wonderful lesson from my son. "The world is amazing!" A seven year old's excitement can be so very exciting! After discovering his Easter surprise from the bunny, we ventured as a family to the World Forestry Center in Portland, Oregon.
This place was amazing. Not only is Easter Sunday a great day to come to avoid crowds...we practically had the place to ourselves! Exhibits were globally connected, meaning all parts of the world were displayed. From learning about the dangers of losing the Polar Bear to strengthening conservation around the world, the discovery museum is a wonderful place to learn how trees and forests are important to our livelihood.
Seeing the excitement and joy on a child's face as he discovers the layers (rings) of a tree was so refreshing.
Michael, at 7 years old, is on his way to becoming a scientist or engineer...I just know it! While this could be the rantings of a proud parent, as an educator, I unfortunately know too many children who want the "instant gratification" and the "give me the information now," kind of attitude.
Michael read through the description of how scientists discover the age of a tree, then walked over to a very large cross-section model and began counting rings.
He stopped for a moment, looked at me and said, "Mom, this could take awhile. You might want to sit down."
I couldn't help but laugh as I sat down. I gave him space. I gave him time to explore. At about the 40th ring, Michael said, "Well, so far at this point, the tree was 60 years old, and I am not even half way through counting, which means this tree has been around for a VERY long time. Even older than you Mom!"
(Gee, thanks kiddo! He..he..)
As a parent, sometimes we rush too fast through life...going from one activity to the next, and so forth.
Would it have been easier to say, "Michael, the tree is well over 600 years old...now, let's get moving to the next exhibit." Sure. But then I would have missed a valuable moment in time, where my child took his tenacious time, meticiously counting layer after layer, touching the cross section of a tree, using his math skills to figure out the age, and conceptualize the beauty of life...and how long life goes on.
If I had skipped through too quickly and pushed my son through the exhibits, then, when we sat and watched the video on how many forests are destroyed for the development of things unnecessary....like another resort....I would have missed hearing the comment, "Mom, that is so sad. Why do people want to cut down those young trees? You know they are young because there isn't many rings to it. Aren't there already enough hotels in the world?"
Hmm, what an excellent observation, coming from a 7 year old.
Take time to explore. Ask and answer questions. Foster learning.
Like all the young trees that shouldn't be cut down....neither should our children's minds.