Ahh! Autumn! I know many of you out there are excited about the fall. School’s been back in session for a few weeks, the temps are cooling for many of us, and thoughts of warm family gatherings are just around the corner. But, I’m sure there are many who say “goodbye” to summer with a sigh, dreading the changes of the seasons (ugh! And let’s not forget those of us who are blessed with seasonal allergies!).
Along with crimson reds, warm ambers, and intensely deep purple leaves, fruits and berries, and pecans & acorns, autumn also brings teachable moments in the brown falling leaves, the winds, and the rains. There are many life lessons that can be learned in autumn related to change and life cycles. The season provides small examples of how to gently present to children the idea of overwhelming topics like aging and death.
Last week, I came across this quote: “Youth is like spring, an over praised season more remarkable for biting winds than genial breezes. Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits.” ~Samuel Butler
For this particular season’s post, I’d like to challenge you to take moments to teach your child to value those who are in the “autumn” of their lives. The quote above reflects that embrace. In our society, “youth” are often praised beyond what they are due (and before you judge me, this is one gal who dreaded turning 30!). We glorify, edify, value all things “youth” related. Yet, in the passion and ambition of the young, often “biting winds” knock over everything in their path. I know, I’ve been guilty of that, for sure.
I’ve noticed “youths” often view those over middle age who appear “mellower” to have given up or compromised (and no doubt that mentality seeped into my head in my youth). Elders are devalued because they aren’t “relevant” (whether in social or spiritual areas) and are perceived to have little to contribute of worth to those wet behind the ears. How does this related to the season of autumn?
You know, you don’t usually get a bouquet of fruit. Every lady I know welcomes an arrangement of flowers. What would you say if your husband came home with a bag of oranges and pecans for you to shell? Flowers rule in fragrance and appearance....but what can they provide other than a moral booster for a few days (maybe a week or two)? Fruit nourishes the body and is truly “nature's candy”...especially when it’s picked at the peak of ripening. As autumn approaches and enters, we see a surplus of fruit and nuts.
Last year, my 2 1/2 year old (at the time) and I went on a fall nature walk in the neighborhood. One neighbor has several pecan trees. We picked up a few from the ground and even from the tree for observation.
You can see the progression of how a pecan “matures.” It is only edible the closer it gets to what looks like rotting (at least to an unlearned observer). However, I didn’t know much about pecans at the time. I should have assumed they were a bit like persimmons, though (with which I have had some unfortunate experiences!). Yeah, never eat the pecan straight from the tree when it’s green...you can’t! It’s TOUGH getting into the green casing or husk. When you do, the nut isn’t mature. If you STILL want to taste it, have someone close by ready to turn your mouth back the right way for it will turn inside out!
Patience and respect are what I learned that day! Patience, because the pecans that had already fallen and “dried up” were the ready ones...not the pretty green ones! And respect - how many people in the autumn of life am I passing by, opting to spend time with some fun, young friend? I miss opportunities to learn from their wisdom and sweetness. These precious blessings are their for our benefit; whether it be practical tips on cooking the perfect meal, wisdom to help balance the many things in our lives, or spiritual guidance and discipleship.
That’s what I’ve been learning in autumn, and it’s something I hope to instill in my little ones. What about you? What lessons have you learned or taught through the season of autumn?