This morning, my children and I had plans to meet with friends and pick blueberries at a local farm. My youngest son Luke, age 5, is quite a homebody — he usually would rather stay at home than go out on an activity. This morning was no exception; when I told him to get ready to go, he began to cry.
“But I don’t want to pick blueberries,” he whined through his tears. My husband, who was still home at the time, overheard him.
“Why don’t you go on, and leave Luke with me,” he offered.
“You have to go to work soon,” I replied, “and anyway, he can go pick berries. It’ll be fun.”
“But I don’t want to,” Luke said again as the tears flowed.
“I can take him to Grandma’s house then, and he can watch T.V.,” my husband suggested, but I just frowned. I wasn’t exactly sure what time we would return, so I didn’t know how long Grandma would have to keep him. I also didn’t want him watching television all morning. Besides, we hadn’t been blueberry picking since last summer, and I wasn’t sure Luke remembered what it involved. “He can come,” I answered. “It’ll be good for him.”
And it was. Many of the berry bushes had already been picked over, so it took us over an hour just to pick a gallon. But Luke picked blueberries the entire time, going from bush to bush with me, choosing the ripe berries, and putting them in the container.
Even if he hadn’t enjoyed the activity, it was still a good thing for him to do. He learned that berries grow on bushes; that the bushes, though big to a five-year-old, are too small to climb; that unripe blueberries are red or pink, and the ripe ones appear blue, purple, or black; that the small ones taste sour. We talked about the animals that might come along to eat the extra berries. We discussed the picture book Blueberries for Sal that we had read last week.
Had I let Luke have his way, he would have spent the morning watching television instead of experiencing life. While it’s often easy to give in to the demands of a whining child, we need to consider as parents and teachers what is really in the child’s best interest. Today it was picking blueberries, and through it both Luke and I learned some valuable lessons.
Guest Blogger: Samantha Bell
Photo by Sheree K