There I was, staggering down the dark hallway at 5.30 a.m., trying not to wake the children.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw movement. What is that, I thought? Maybe a mouse? No, it looks bigger than a mouse. Maybe it’s a rat?
Peering down in the darkness, I realised it was a frog. But how did such a large frog get into the house?
All of these thoughts suddenly disappeared when I thought about my grandchildren who live with us. YES! This is a classic show-and-tell Dad opportunity.
So I quickly grabbed a wide plastic pouring jug and scooped up the frog as he hopped into the bathroom. Then I put a big children’s book on top of the container.
When the children woke up, I gathered them around my show-and-tell.
“What do you think I have in here?”
“Pancake mix,” one enthusiastically replied.
Another looked at me longingly and said, “Lollies!”
I ceremoniously pulled back the book to revel one big, frightened frog looking up at us, wondering if these humans were from France and were going to cook him up for breakfast. Thankfully for the frog, this was not the case!
The children stared in awe at the frog. They were even more enlivened when I told them that the frog was hopping towards their bedroom. Perhaps he wanted to jump in their beds.
One of the children whispered in my ear, “Can we keep him for a pet?”
“No, we have to let him go in the garden where he came from. That is his environment,” I sadly said. The youngest dutifully came with me for the release ceremony. The frog was now free!
Our recent frog experience reminded me of the times I have caught diamond pythons during my many bush walks and always dutifully bring home the said specimen to show our children. Of course, they were always returned to their habitat.
My four boys loved the snakes. My daughter was not so impressed, but feigned a polite interest in reptiles. She did love animals, but preferred rabbits or cats.
Why am I telling you this?
Being a Dad is a life of show-and-tell, and sometimes the everyday experiences are the ones we can talk to our children about.
It is especially good when we have some sort of object we can bring home to our children, so they have a living window into the world of nature. It could be a photo or even a video, but keep your eyes open for these moments of interest, wonder or just plain educational opportunities that present themselves each day.
Remember, our children are quite interested in what takes us away from the home, that is, away from them. If you can show them something from your workplace or a picture or video from your work, it will always be of interest to them.
The other reality is that the more we can get our children away from the ever-present TV or screen, the better. Real-world opportunities, particularly with something live, are just pure gold.
I have done the same many times with lizards, baby birds, and even worms. There is a lesson in all of God’s creation for our children, if we are willing to show and explain what we know about it.
My wife and I have had a worm farm for almost three decades, such is our passion for reducing our household waste. Worms are generally of great interest to children, especially those who like to get their hands dirty.
The story of the humble worm is as follows:
Worms are amazing creatures. These living fertiliser tubes are full of countless beneficial bacteria and enzymes that help sustain the life and fertility of our horticultural and agricultural systems. Worms dig and aerate the soil, allowing more water to soak in.
When living in your worm farm, worms will eat up to 3-4kg of your kitchen waste every week, then turn it into worm castings (rich plant food) and worm tea (liquid fertiliser) that can be used to improve the health of your garden.
Approximately 45% of household waste and 30% of all the waste we throw away is organic and compostable.
Yet many people toss their organic waste into the bin and wait for their local Council to collect it and add it to landfill.
Recycling your organic waste — by using a worm farm or compost bin — is aerobic, which mean it doesn’t create pollution. In fact, it turns organic waste into a rich fertiliser to feed your garden.
Keeping a worm farm is fun for the whole family and a great way to get everyone involved in nurturing the environment and making your home more sustainable.
What am I trying to say?
- You as a father need to grab the opportunities when they come to you.
- You can even create these opportunities to give your children the experiences they need with the wonder of creation. After all, keeping a worm farm is much less work than keeping a dog or cat.
Show and tell is one of the mainstays of ‘Dad Life’. When it comes to living things, it is a great way to keep our children engaged as dutiful carers of our environmental treasures.
Yours for encouraging enquiring young minds,
PS: Thankfully we got the booking information out for the upcoming Men’s Leadership Summit, 16-18 July on Saturday. The challenge now is to get your friends together so you can benefit from the Group (3 or more) and Early Bird Discounts.
Early Bird closes midnight Friday 4 June 2021.