Walking briskly on a warm, sunny, winter day offered so much to enjoy that I almost missed the little voice saying, “Look Omi, an ‘oh’ and a ‘ss’!” A little finger pointed to tree flowers (catkins) shaped by happenstance into “sounds” after falling from the tree. She was inviting me to participate in her discovery of sounds!
A child’s interests show up in a lingering gaze, a slight pull of the hand in a new direction, a pause to examine a detail, or an explosion of glee at a sight or activity. I have seen a little one want so badly to stop and watch a musician performing along a sidewalk as the parents, unaware, pulled him along, never noticing the physical plea of the child to stop and absorb the moment. We try so hard to get them to listen to us; imagine how hard they work trying to get us to listen to them.
Be ready for surprises! Follow their lead! A walk can turn into so many adventures: comparing leaf shapes, little hands tracing twisted roots, or following an insect into the crack in the pavement. Since I didn’t miss the little voice on that winter’s walk, I stopped and we examined the many shapes on the sidewalk under the tree. We found so many sounds waiting to be discovered, sounds only a child would have seen.