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Are you in there Tom Sawyer?

April 26, 2014

I wrote the first part of this post 2 years ago and the second part was penned 3 years ago. As I was searching through old posts, I read these and I still love them. These are great posts to read on this beautiful spring day as we head into summer. So enjoy and ask yourself, “Are you in there Tom Sawyer?”

It has been a busy week for my boys and their friends.  There is a small plot of woods just west of our yard.  It has been the place of dreams and adventures for my kids over the years.  But every year it is my desire to at least thin out the brush.  Well, with the help of 7 strong teenage boys, we have finally done that.  As we hauled out pile after pile of logs and sticks and brush, we came upon the remnants of forts and campsites and dams made in the creek.

I couldn’t help but be nostalgic, and although these crudely made structures were an eyesore, I did not want to remove one little stick from them.  A fallen log in the creek was creating a mess; but I knew my boys had placed it there to create a dam for their own personal swimming hole.  No one knew how I struggled to allow them to haul it to the burn pile.

Each little symbol of childhood joy that we came across, filled me with joy and remembrance of a blog I had written about it.  The dangling rope swing hanging above the creek reminded me once again that Aunt Polly was alive and well within me; but as I thought about it, I still found Tom Sawyer lurking deep inside.

The lean-to hidden in the middle of the brush brought me immediately back to the moment when God showed me the extreme value of adventure and play for children.  I can still clearly see my rag-tag bunch huddled around a campfire, cooking beans in my good pot.  I learned a lot that day; mostly to stay quiet in the midst of true childhood life.

I believe the messages I shared with you then are ones we never should forget; but time and our busy lives tend to crowd out those things which ought to be remembered.

Spring is bursting out all over.  Summer is just around the corner.  As these wonderful warm days of childhood fun approach, we will all be temped to continue on our path of scheduling and planning.  Stop! Do not fill your summer with activity.  A Tom Sawyer summer is awaiting our kids.  Let’s give them the opportunity for a little adventure.

Today, I want to revisit a blog from the past.  It is worth a re-read.  So take a time out and be encouraged.  There is still adventure waiting for ALL of us.

When Did I Turn Into Aunt Polly?

When did I turn into Aunt Polly?  As I stood by the creek watching my girls swing out over the muddy waters, this nasty thought crept in.  “I am no longer Tom Sawyer, I have become Aunt Polly.”  I hope you are all familiar with Tom Sawyer, the original, all- boy, kid.  His adventures were the things kids dream of, girls included.  Oh how I wished I could build a raft and sail to my own island.  But today I realized somewhere along the line I was still relating to Tom and dreaming like Tom but I had turned into Aunt Polly.

As I voiced my concern to my girls, one of them said, “Maybe it happened when you turned 50.”  Now you know my age, the big 5 0.

Today I had to push myself once again to be a better Mama.  A lovely little creek meanders by our home.  Our sons have diligently hauled and stacked rocks across the creek right where an old rope hangs from a tree.  Every moment my children get, they rush out to that rope, and as it swings out over the water, time dissolves and they are Tom Sawyer, Pollyanna or any other early American child at play.  I of course have had the normal Aunt Polly reaction to this situation.  “That water is filthy!!” “Who knows what is in that water!!”  “That is sooo dangerous!!” but then that small Tom Sawyer voice whispers, “Aw come on, let them do it!”  Thank God Tom is still in there… somewhere.

Dear Mamas it was not easy.  I had to overcome my strong Aunt Polly instincts.  First of all I had to take the time to change my shoes.  This may sound silly but once my shoes where changed, the victory was won.  So often it is that first step of inconvenience that we must overcome, and when we do, we are on the home stretch.  Then I had to hike through the knee deep forest growth, including mud.  Then I got to stand on the creek bank swatting deer flies and mosquitoes.  I got to stand and bite my tongue as I wanted to keep reminding them to be careful, but as they played and plopped into “the filthy water”, their joy and youthful innocence thrilled my ‘Aunt Polly’ heart.

There are very few opportunities in today’s society for children to have the Tom Sawyer type of experiences. We have become ultra careful and ruled by structured playtime.  My challenge to you today is to listen to the inner “Tom” voice.  Encourage your children to go outside and play, get a little dirty and maybe even find an adventure.

NOTE:  Swimming in a creek is a dangerous activity.  Know and be familiar with the area you are swimming in.  Be sure there are no hidden branches, deep holes or swift currents. If possible know the source of the water. Never let children swim unsupervised and make sure the child and the adult can swim well.  AND NEVER dive head first into ANY creek, pond or lake.       Signed – Aunt Polly.

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