Saturday, November 16, 2013

Raking Leaves: The Fun is in the Journey

A while ago, my husband eyed up our four strapping young sons and announced, "One day I won't have to do yard work!"

Clearly my husband envisioned his four minions (I mean sons) pushing around a mower and yanking up weeds while he lounged on the patio sipping a cold drink and diving into a thick novel.  A dad can dream, right?

If (or when) that time comes, it will be after years (and more years) of yard maintenance training.  

Consider us still in the training period.  

Perhaps even in the genesis of the training period.

Today we equipped each boy with a rake and pointed to the backyard.  Our yard was blanketed with a solid layer of leaves.  The boys let out a collective "ugh."  My sentiments mirrored the boys, but I smiled through grit teeth.

Any illusions we held that our sons would turn into pint-size yard men the minute they clutched a rake were dashed.  They were still squirmy boys that preferred to use the rakes for ninja moves rather than for leaf retraction.  They were more efficient at hurling leaves rather than forming piles.  They preferred jumping into a leaf mound rather than pulling leaves into a yard bag.

But despite the hiccups along the way, I noticed the progress they were making.  For minutes on end, they would actually fling bundles of leaves into empty yard bags and then repeat and repeat again.

I soaked in the atmosphere.  Perhaps we (all six of us) were not in the place we wanted to be, but we were together.  Over bags of leaves, we talked.  The boys shared more clutching a rake than when seated at the dinner table (or lounging in front of a screen!).  It was actually starting to become (gasp) fun!

After many hours, our yard looked like it received a fresh haircut; it was manicured and clean.

I realized that perhaps grooming our boys to be our future yard men fell second to the other benefits accrued throughout the process.  Family time.  Team work.  Cooperation.  Those were the lessons learned in our back yard.  (Learned, not yet mastered!) 

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