Oceans For Emotions: Teach children well

By Elaine Wheat
June 8, 2012 at 1:08 a.m.

"Suffer the little children to come unto Me and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of God."

- Luke 18:16

I don't have this retirement thing down yet. The last day of school came and went, and it was no different to me than any other day. That is hard to take after celebrating the summer for 52 years of being an educator.

I almost dreaded going to see the sea because I knew it would be over-populated with little children splashing, dashing and crashing into all of my favorite fishing spots. It was with dread that I made myself go fishing anyway.

When I got to the beach, I planted my chair firmly where I wanted it, revived my old teacher stare and cast it out, along with my rod and reel. The first kid that lifted up my line and ran under it to get to the crabbing bridge almost got glared off the beach, but he didn't seem to care. He just laughed, held up a sandy hand, and said, "Sorry, lady," and then ran off.

It was then that the term "Sorry, lady" hit my heart, and I realized I was being a sorry lady. I pulled in my rod and reel, leaned it against my chair, just stopped, looked at all of the playing children and listened to their laughter. It was then that I realized what was missing from my retirement - the children. Yes, the children.

I decided to play with them. I got on my hands and knees and searched for small pieces of corral. When I found one, I would yell in a falsetto soprano voice, "I found one, I found one."

I had soon attracted a small crowd of small children, and I taught them to help me look for the little small corral.

Next, I found a flat piece of oyster shell and with the one throw I had left in this body, skipped it out over the ocean and got five skips. And the children said, "Wow, lady, can we do that?" I said, "You go find a shell that is flat and then we will see." Soon I had "chunken children" lined up on both sides of me and our crowd was growing. We all yelled and screamed at each throw.

A little first-grade boy came up to me dragging his mother and asked his mother and me to introduce ourselves to each other. His mother had told him not to talk to strangers and just because I was a little strange with a fish swimming through my hat and acting like the children I was playing with, he asked his mom if he could play with me. She said, "Yes, can I play too?" And she put down her book and started looking for a flat shell.

I remembered that I had bought a kite for my great-grandson, Joseph, who is soon coming to see me and I took it out of the car, sat in my lawn chair and tied it to my rod and reel with my best "hook-knot" and started letting the string out.

The on-shore breeze caught it instantly and it sailed up beautifully into the sky. I thought all of the kids had left me and then I turned around and looked and they had all lined up behind me, waiting for their turns.

Now we were starting to attract more children and fathers were being ordered by their wives to drive into town and buy a kite.

Dear Lord, this day turned out to be one of the happiest days of my retirement. Thank you for letting me learn that retirement can be fun if we retirees add laughter and teaching the little children every chance we get.



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