*** this is a repost of one of my favorite (and most popular) posts. It was originally posted here on October 14th when I had first started being more serious about my blogging. I thought my new readers might like to read some of my “old” stuff 😉
Hanging out with my siblings and my dad on Saturday got me thinking about “the good ol’ days”! I couldn’t wait to grow up and get away from the small town life and away from my annoying family. Boy, was I excited to graduate! I was the oldest as well, so was always feeling “hard done by” because I had to do everything! I’m sure you can hear me now, whining and complaining.
Like the girl in the video, I couldn’t wait to turn 18. To be “free”. What I didn’t know was just how hard it was to be a grown up. I miss the simplicity of life back then. I knew where I was going and what I was going to do! My biggest worry was if I was going to be allowed to go out with my friends on Friday night. I had a part time job and growing up on a farm, I knew how to work hard. I always had money and time on my hands.
I miss hanging out with those “annoying” siblings! The great times we had. Waking up on Christmas morning; way too early – even when we were teenagers! It was so early that we weren’t allowed to wake up our parents yet, so the standing rule was to sneak downstairs to my room where we’d play board games for hours and try to guess what was in those presents upstairs! We’d giggle oh so quietly and have such fun playing, never fighting! I’ll bet that my parents knew darn well that we were up, but they were letting us have that time together because it was more important than giving us trouble for being awake too early.
We spent hours playing out in the trees. So many adventures and imaginary games we would play. We built many different “forts”. Each one better than the last from our own imaginations. We must have hauled yards and yards of boards and nailed a million nails. I always wondered why Dad let us do that.
He probably could have found a better use for all those boards, but he knew what was important. He knew the life lessons we would get from building those tree houses.
It was important for us to learn to work as a team. We had to work together to build our tree house creations. We had to listen to each other’s ideas and let everyone have a say. Each of us contributed as equals.
We had to care about each other. My littlest sister fell out of one of the tree houses we built and got hurt one day. Not badly, but enough. I don’t remember getting into trouble, but I do remember that the incident caused us to plan to make the next one a little safer. Four walls and the door in the floor so that it was harder for someone to fall out. We learned to think about someone besides ourselves.
A big one: We learned from our mistakes. Each tree house we built was a vast improvement from the last. We remembered what we’d done wrong and didn’t repeat it for the next project. The last tree house we built (shown in the picture) was the best one yet. It still stands (though is a little scary now!) and our kids think we were amazing to have built that by ourselves!
Dad didn’t tell us what we’d done wrong, he’d let us learn it for ourselves. He knew that it was important to let us experience it. To let us make mistakes. He could have told us, he could have done it better for us. We learned to pass that on to our own children. All four of us let our children experience life and make mistakes and learn from them rather than doing it for them. A valuable lesson learned.
Most of all, we got to be together and be outdoors. We weren’t sitting in our own little worlds, separate from each other. We weren’t stuck indoors, our noses in a book (though we did like to do that!). We were outside living, rather than reading about it. We got to know our brother and sisters as the great people they are rather than some strangers we lived with for 18 years.
That was the most important lesson learned – we are part of a family and part of each other. We can do great things when we are there for each other.
That is what that old tree house taught us.