We’ve made picking blueberries a family affair and as the caretakers of these berries it is our responsibility to both harvest and enjoy them. The berries ask only for the sun and water that mother nature provides and in return they produce thousands of plump, juicy berries for our nourishment. While picking the berries, it is inevitable that one of the younger children ask, "Can I have a blueberry from your basket?". "No," I always reply, "but you may pick your own,". "Please, just one?" they respond with their kryptonite-like puppy dog eyes, but my answer is unwavering. It seems harsh and sometimes and I wonder what message I’m sending about sharing, but they are strong, capable children. I want them to learn that if they want something enough they should be willing to work hard for it.
My eight-year-old looks forward to picking berries and takes pride in how many he picks and how many he eats. When we bake muffins or pie or top our salad with yummy berries, he knows that he contributed and that is empowering. My six and four-year-old still ask, but they will either learn to reach or they will learn to go without, at least until their older brother shares with them because he is extremely empathetic.
It's a small lesson and there wasn't a lot of thought put into it. It happened organically, literally, and the more I reflect on the message I’m sending the more grounded I am in my idea that even when a berry dangles high above their heads they should learn to reach for it. After all, I’ve witnessed them scale walls for lollipops. I am grateful for our abundant blueberries and for the nourishment, pleasure, and lessons they provide to our family.
Where do you find lessons in nature? How do you share those lessons with your children?