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Getting Messy (Part 7 of 10)

This is not for everyone as some people don't enjoy getting dirty. Despite this, I would suggest that we try to take a risk in this area in order to make an emotional connection to the world. As a young child, one of my favourite activities was climbing trees in our yard. I loved the challenge of trying to scramble up a tree and the view I saw when I got to the top. Unfortunately, many of the trees in our yard had sap which got on my clothes. My mom did not like this part of the activity and eventually said that I wouldn’t be able to climb trees anymore. While I understand my mom's reasoning, I would have appreciated it if we could have found a solution together; for example, only climbing trees in a designated set of clothes that were old and tattered.

I also appreciate Rachel Carson’s thoughts on this topic. She writes, “We have let Roger share our enjoyment of things people ordinarily deny children because they are inconvenient, interfering with bedtime or involving wet clothing that has to be changed or mud that has to be cleaned off the rug” (1956, p. 28). Encouraging wonder with children is a messy process. There will be muddy clothes, dirty hands and late bedtimes. However, if we want our children to remain explorers, we will need to be okay with a mess from time to time.

Carson, R. (1956). The Sense of Wonder: A Celebration of Nature for Parents and Children.

New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.

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