I don’t know the psychology behind the thrill of careening down a hill, snow chips biting your cheeks and eyes, frozen mittened arms and booted legs flailing, but having lived much of my life in Vermont, I’ve done a lot of hurtling myself down hills on anything that slid—inner tubes, runner sleds, toboggans, flying saucers, and garbage bags even—and delighted in every minute of it.
There’s nothing like a report of a coming snowfall, to perk up the spirits of kids (and some adults) everywhere—but especially in places where snowfalls are rare. Here in the South, a one inch covering on any grassy slope, even if it ends in a ditch or comes perilously close to a road, will draw more parka-clad people than Aspen ski trail.
Sledding is simply one of the joys of childhood. That’s why I felt so sad this morning to see the news that in spite of an uncommon snowstorm in DC, kids won’t be allowed to sled on the Capitol lawn this year as in times past—military, security, Covid—oppression, repression, suppression. Depression. Since there aren’t many places for urban kids to go, this restriction represents another moment stolen from the childhoods of so many of our children this year.
I don’t have any answer to offer here, and I hate the politics that are toying with so many lives—especially this generation of kids—but I do want to applaud the parents and teachers who are doing their best to make good memories out of small moments for their children. I know of one mom, who lives in a neighborhood that is super supportive, decks her house out for each of her kid's birthdays--holidays--and the neighbors all join in, drive by and make a big deal out of celebrating each other's kids.
I don't have young children and am lacking in ideas, but if anyone has some suggestions on ways to encourage parents, teachers or kids, feel free to share. In any case--offer your support and encouragement to the children, their parents, and their teachers in your lives.