One of my favorite things to do as a kid was to jump into puddles. Now I know that we live in Southern California and it hardly ever rains, but humor me and come along for a wet and messy journey through the rain.
Imagine for a moment that it’s pouring outside, the grass is soaked (I’m dreaming, but that’s allowed), the roads are slippery, the storm drains are clogged, and the kids are home. Instead of them arguing over the remote control or which snack to have, they put on galoshes and rain jackets and head outside.
Splash! in goes Sarah – oh, I know it’s messy and there’s now mud on her jeans. Will she take the galoshes off before she traipses mud onto the wood floors? Guess what? Sarah is delighted with the freedom, the noise of the rain, the feel of the mud, and being outside in inclement weather. Watch out, here comes John. On no! Did he really kick mud up at the side of the house? Who will clean it? Honestly, let it go. These are our kids, this is tomorrow’s generation, an opportunity like a rain storm doesn’t hit Southern California very often. Make the most of it. Take advantage of the inclement weather. Your kids will have plenty of time to sit indoors, behind computers and video games, eating mindlessly while they crunch numbers and research term papers. Right now, as the leaves begin to turn somewhat brown (still dreaming), as the weather finally gets cooler, as we have a rainstorm or two, let them run and play outside, relishing in nature, enjoying the fresh air, and bountiful gifts that this earth provides us. Even if it is very messy. These opportunities are few and soon the kids will be all grown up, worrying about who will clean the muddy mess.
Sue Penn is the Director of Congregational Learning at University Synagogue, is known for being an innovative and creative educator. Sue sits on the Board of Directors for JFFSOC and Someone Cares Soup Kitchen. Sue is committed to providing opportunities which allow every individual to learn and engage in community.