During infancy and toddlerhood, it is we, the parents, who initially teach our children the laws of the land. It begins with the basic rules such as, don’t hit, don’t lie and don’t steal the other kids’ toys, but as they get older, the rules get more complicated.
All of the fifty states are distinctive, each with its own topography. In Hawaii, it ranges from the peaks of the volcanoes to the white, sandy beaches by the sea. In Nebraska, there are miles upon miles of cornfields, while Pennsylvania is enhanced by the Appalachians.
Growing up in the countryside, my backyard was a living terrarium. I went for long walks with my family in the woods behind our house, studying the living organisms, letting ladybugs crawl up my arm, learning the difference between poison ivy and poison oak.
Our world has become a global community, thanks to technologies such as skyping, texting and e-mail. While this enables us to keep in touch in a broader manner, it also tends to make us look past the day to day people who create the framework of our neighborhoods.
As a child, I used to lie on the cool grass on warm spring nights, looking up at the tiny pinpricks of light that formed the constellations. My father used to lie with me, pointing out Orion, the hunter, Cassiopeia, and Ursa Major, the great bear.
It’s nearly dawn on Christmas morning. The sun has not yet risen, but my children have and they are anxious to see what Santa has brought for them. They come sneaking into my bed and pull on my arm, urging me to go with them to look under the tree.