It’s Monday morning, and I thought I’d start the week with a sweet little creative-non-fiction piece.
I met author Stephen C. Schultz of The Interpreted Rock on Google+ years ago, and I’ve always known him to be a super-positive, friendly person. Whether it was a wise or kind word, or beautiful photographs of flowers, his posts were always a pleasure to visit. So, I was really excited when he offered to let me reshare one of his posts. The moment I started reading The Adventures of Little Kids & Big Trees, I was caught up in it. Maybe it was because I wished that when I was young and running amok in the streets, that I had run into an wise and understanding adult like him lol Regardless, I knew the moment I read it that I wanted to share it here. Enjoy!
The Adventures of Little Kids & Big Trees
By Stephen C. Schultz
The clouds were low and gray. A few drops tapped the bill of my hat as I pushed the mower along the edge of the sidewalk. The smell of damp cut grass filled the air and a slight breeze blowing from the west let me know a rain shower was on its way.
It was the middle of the morning and I felt a bit of pressure to get the lawn mowed before the storm rolled in. So, I was focused and moving at a little quicker pace than normal. I looked up and saw three of the neighbor kids climbing in one of my trees. I kept the mower going and moved closer to the tree. On my way towards them, they noticed that I saw them. They looked away and then glanced back at me with that childhood curiosity that screams;
“Is he going to tell us to get down? Are we going to get in trouble? Will he tell our parents?”
In the fifty feet it took me to get to the tree, I also had a flood of thoughts. I recalled many instances in my childhood climbing trees and having make-believe adventures around the neighborhood. I remembered times playing in the neighbors yard, riding bikes up and down the sidewalk complete with Evel Knievel jumps and taking adventurous trips to the reservoir with our Red Rider BB Guns!
As I got closer to the tree, I turned off the mower. I stepped to the base of the tree and looked up. They didn’t say a thing. I let the awkwardness hang in the air for just a bit more and then I said,
“I love climbing trees! I used to climb trees all the time when I was your age!”
The three boys relaxed a bit and one said, “Yeah, it’s fun! I climb trees at my grandmas house!”
I then asked them,
“Do any of you know first aid?”
They looked at me quizzically.
I explained that first aide is what you do when someone gets hurt. If someone fell and scraped their arm or fell and broke a leg. This is what you do to help someone who is hurt. I mentioned to them that sometimes accidents happen. Sometimes things go wrong even when you are being very careful.
One boy piped up and said, “Yeah, but we know what we are doing!”
I replied, “I know you do! You guys are great tree climbers! But, there are lots of grown ups who know what they are doing when they drive a car. Sometimes even they get in accidents.”
I mentioned that it might be a good idea to have a plan if someone got hurt.
“We don’t have a plan!” the youngest boy piped up!
I told them I was going to finish mowing the lawn. If someone fell or got hurt, they could come get me and I would help. That could be their plan.
I turned toward the mower and started walking away. One at a time, they came down out of the tree. They got on their bikes and road down the street. About five minutes later they were riding their bikes back towards the tree. They had a blanket and a little bag. They spread the blanket out on the grass under the tree and pulled some POP Tarts (A breakfast pastry you put in the toaster.) out of the bag. They sat on the blanket, under the tree, eating their little snack!
There really isn’t some insightful message or parenting tip in this story. It is simply an experience I had with three young kids in the neighborhood that I thought I would share. If nothing else, it allowed me to think back on my childhood and recall some of the memorable adventures I had as a kid.
What were some of your adventures? Feel free to comment or share!
Stephen Schultz was born and raised in Eugene, Oregon. He graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in psychology and received formal training in addictions counseling through the University’s Graduate School of Social Work. He spent several years working in admissions, clinical services, operations and marketing of large healthcare organizations. Steve joined the Ascent family of services in 2002 and is a founding partner of Oxbow Academy. He also logs thousands of miles each year giving parents and allied health professionals the opportunity to tour the programs first hand and meet our team. Reaching back to his Oregonian roots, Steve never met a rainy day he didn’t like. He looks forward every year to taking his wife and four children back to his family’s cabin in Florence, Oregon for some quality time bass fishing, beach combing and spending time with his extended family.