I agree with Edith Schaeffer as much about creative recreation as I do drama, but summertime in the Deep South isn’t time for much creative recreation unless it involves a swimming pool or some other body of water. Truthfully, though, we’ve been in something of a rut as far as finding neat and inspiring things to do as a family goes. It likely has something to do with the stage of life we’re in, though we have been known to disregard the fact that we have a baby that will have to be carried the entire distance and hike anyway. (This was, in fact, the last time we did anything like this.) I like how Schaeffer distinguishes between being inspired and “recreated” by nature and doing creative things in or about nature. I love both ideas.
Being in nature is truly something I love. Nature study is a discipline that I have attempted to put in place at various times in our homeschool with varying amounts of success. I love what Cindy says about it, and it makes me purpose to do it again this year, since last year was a year of morning sickness and pregnancy fatigue which rendered me incapable of doing much more than the bare minimum. We’ll see what I manage with two little men to care for and corral in the midst of it all! 😉
As much as I love time in nature, I also love a creatively planned experience, too. Road trips are one of my favorite diversions. Last year for our anniversary, Steady Eddie planned a getaway himself, and I didn’t know where we were going when I got in the van. It was so much fun! We ended up in Crossville, Tennessee, for a musical theater performance. We had our belated anniversary meal at a delicious Italian restaurant. On the way back home we visited Fall Creek Falls State Park after touring a Depression era community. It was truly the best of what I enjoy–a road trip, a theater performance, delicious food, a bit of history, and being in nature. I’d love to do this sort of thing for and with my children, too.
The last short road trip we made as a family was to the Huntsville Botanical Garden, so I guess it covered both of Edith’s types of creative recreation. We had a very good time together. The dynamics have changed, of course, with the addition of Benny to our family, and we’re still getting our footing. It’s not nearly as easy to drop everything and hit the road with four children as it was with two or even three. That day, though–the Saturday before Memorial Day–was just about perfect (except for the heat). I look forward to many such days in the future.
We’re currently in the process of trying to sell our house. We’ve looked at several properties in our vicinity, and we’ve settled on three that we really like. When I think about it, all three that we’ve chosen as our top picks have huge yards. They’re all older houses in established neighborhoods; the newer houses in our area are expensive, but even if the price were right for a newer home, I can’t abide the tiny lots they’re built on. Give me the green space any day of the week! If we don’t sell our house, we’ve considered remodeling it and adding on to it (if the price is right, of course). My only hold up about this is the fact that we’d lose part of our back yard. I crave green space, and more than that, I think it’s vital for my children to have it.
What Edith says in this chapter is something I want to keep forefront in my mind:
One needs to fight to prevent creativity being killed. Children are naturally creative, but it needs encouragement. They need to become aware that they were made in the image of the Creator, and are meant to be creative. They can begin to understand that there is a difference between the infinite (like God) and the finite (like man), so that they appreciate that they cannot do everything, but they need not just give up and ‘sit’, living other people’s lives on the screen and ‘graduating’ one day to the place where they have no interest, no enthusiasm and no excitement, like so many of today’s ‘drop outs’ who have dropped out of creativity as well as formal education. Unhappily, many teachers, as well as parents–who are the first teachers–have ‘dropped out’ too; out of the real universe, which is one in which personality has meaning because man was made in the image of a Personal God. The impersonal universe of man’s making is one which does not produce a base for creativity. (178)
I know all this already. I just need to be reminded frequently.