Today we took a walk along Silver Falls Creek. Like every trip before The Boy started wandering away. Alone. Then something happened.
He noticed the trees. Suddenly, he was looking at the trees. Like, REALLY looking. The rest of the party was gradually pulling away and I stopped. To observe. To listen.
I watched as he saw the world through new eyes. Knowledge translated to life. He observed. Touched. Questioned. And I listened. Answered questions.
I even managed a picture from him. I wish it would have turned out clearer.
As we walked along, my 14-year-old boy returned to that inquisitive child I remembered. And I was there. Following along. Listening. Heart bursting!
MOM! Stop. Look at this. Why does this tree look like this? Have you seen this soil? Why is it red here? The soil up there didn’t hold as much moisture. The information was coming out of him speedily now.
Now he was noticing the little things. Lichen. Fungi. He started saying how THIS was what he wanted. To see and feel science, not read about it. Then he said, "Now I know why Darwin was so excited. This is cool."
Hallelujah! The angels join in singing with this overwhelmed with joy momma!
We were joined by two botany students. A conversation soon developed between them and my son. I explained that we homeschool and had just finished up Fungi, that my son was seeing the words alive before his eyes. I think I said the magic world. Because I listened as these two adults showed my son the amazing wonder of nature. To see the small things that most people miss. How the usnea lichen can be pulled, like a rubber string. The Boy was looking at things in a different way.
I thanked them and asked if they would allow a picture. Permission granted I stepped back.
And that’s when it hit me. He’s awake! He’s learning. Seeing the world on his own terms. Really seeing it.
As we walked away I thanked them again for sharing their knowledge with my son.
This, I thought, is how education should be. Adults sharing their knowledge with the younger ones. Passing to them a love for their environment, their culture and society as a whole. Education should be a continual conversation between a parent/mentor and the student. Learning, every minute of every day.
At this point I knew the party would be anxiously waiting for us and I had to tell The Boy to speed up a bit. His simple reply was, "But Mom. They are just rushing by. They are not seeing the world right in front of them. There is so much to see."
I smiled. Welcome back my Boy.