Last weekend, we made a return visit to one of our favourite spots along the river. We like this spot because we usually find ourselves alone there, so the children are free to roam as they wish without concern for bothering others. Ro and Sen will spend hours walking each and every little path through the grass, along the rocky river’s edge, and watching the graffiti writers paint under the bridge.
Sometimes our city adventures take us miles from home, other times we don’t end up covering a lot of terrain, but rather take the time to explore a spot fully. That’s what we did last weekend when I could tell the children needed a slow day, but I still needed my wandering fix.
I love this sort of city adventure where we are in the heart of downtown (and we live in a big city), but we are also in a spot that is fairly secluded and empty of people. Just across the bridge is a large bustling university campus, on the other side of the river a shopping centre and sports complex, and a few short blocks east is our city’s main street. And yet, in this spot we could imagine ourselves in a rural setting without another human soul for miles. While I love to expose my children to the busy pulse of the city, the alleys, the tall buildings, the crowds -- all that big city stuff that can be a crash course in socialization, I also love the unexpected, and so I want Ro and Sen to learn that the city doesn’t have one setting or one pace. Expect and seek the unexpected. If we can guide our children toward positive experiences with the unexpected, to learn that the unexpected is often exciting and beautiful, and that there is always more than one setting, more than one facet to any space, place, person, or thing, then maybe they will hold on to those open minds they were born with.