The other day we were driving up to the mall & we were on a street that was lined on both sides by trees. The leaves on every tree had turned a really vibrant red so I pointed them out to Max, commenting on how pretty they were. He got so excited and said, 'Wow! I think some people painted those!' Before he could even say anything else, I informed him about Fall and how leaves change color before they fall off the tree. He sort of gave me a dissinterested 'Oh.' and went back to looking out the window. I realized at that moment what a mistake I'd made. He was fascinated by what he'd seen and had probably started to wonder how those people would paint all those leaves. I can only imagine the scene his mind was putting together and I so wished I could peek in there & experience his wonder with him. I tried asking him more about the people who painted the leaves, but he just told me that people didn't paint them. Regret immediately rushed over me as I realized what had happened. I let information trump imagination. Sure, there's a time to teach your kids, but it doesn't have to be so immediate. Why didn't I let him live in that wonderful imaginary world for a little while? What was my rush to "educate"? And it's too bad...I sure would like to know about those leaf-painting people, but I'm afraid they may now be extinct.
A good reminder. Thanks for the lesson, Max.