Simple, single minded, affectionate and teachable … you and I were all kids once and hopefully still are in some ways in your heart.
A child’s imagination has no limits, no concerns about mortgage payments, whether the car’s oil is overdue for a change. The little details that can clutter and detract from a person’s quality of life is not a concern to a young child.
Have fun, be kind and considerate and sensitive to others are qualities most young kids have unless spoiled, taught otherwise. As a parent, backing off and watching kids work out a problem on their own is a powerful experience. They have much more natural goodness inherit in them than we often realize until put to the test. Kids are very resilient and ones raised in Maine deserve more credit because not just the parents are involved in shaping them for the real world.
Picked up the youngest child Elliot at the Portland Maine jet port last night and back home to help pack the Honda to get him to his summer job today.
Leading groups rafting the Dead River and living at the Sterling Inn is his employment experience until heading back to Colorado Springs for his final year of college next fall. His older brother Alex is off on his own after college graduation. Also rafting for a job on the Arkansas and Colorado Rivers until Arapahoe A Basin ski area opens up again this winter.
The youngest daughter Amanda lives in Boston. The oldest sister Elizabeth in New York City and off to Costa Rica for a few months to immerse in Spanish to become more fluent to tie in with her job, continuing education pursuits. I’m proud of graduated step daughters Keegan and Lindsay’s accomplishments who live in Maine too. That all six grew up in Maine. Learning from picking potatoes, having lots of folks in the village besides just family help shape them. To pitch in, aid to define their purpose, talents, skills for life survival. They are all good kids that are grown up but hopefully keep that youthful, child like spirit needed to have quality of life, joy, happiness, contentment.
Elliot is a thinker, philosopher and tender hearted. Conversations with just he and I are always spirited, engaging, flushing out lots of wisdom to chew on. His grandparents helped all the kids see the bigger picture in life. To enjoy, glean and enjoy the ride of life’s short journey. They helped add so much to all the kid’s childhoods to prepare them for their lives. And I have no doubt all the kids will be good parents someday and help shape their young minds in the same manner.
Elliot said you could tell on the flight back from Colorado when you were getting closer to Maine.
The last “puddle jumper” smaller plane from Philadelphia to Portland had more animated people on board. Friendlier, chatting it up. He said he always feels the cabin of passengers on that last smaller plane is more at ease. Opening up and not so too into themselves self contained or rushed. Like the larger airport ticket holders become that are used to a fast pace, crime, being rushed to and fro with such a sense of urgency or impersonal disregard to others around them.
I told him that is why I wanted the kids to be raised in Maine. People wave, hold doors open, make eye contact, pitch in volunteering in their local small town proud communities. They care about others and are not so self contained. Not just out to take care of number one. No matter what the expense. Mainers are God fearing, respectful, hard working and aware how important keeping it simple is. That outdoor natural living is part of the spiritual experience of worship. Where you get answers to twists and turns, rises and dips in the road of life along the way.
Money in Maine is not used to impress.
Maine is not a state flush with cash anyway. Swanky, costly purchases or extravagant maneuvers to call attention to yourself is not the insecure game of keeping up with the Jones. Or trying to set the pace, to be the Jones in Maine. If a person needs to be center spotlight important and noticed, they quickly move away to the bright lights, big city. C.S. Lewis was right. Too much pride in life is a bad thing. Because a real Mainer is less showy, more behind the scenes doing the right thing for others. Without need to have anyone know the act of kindness. The concern for others less fortunate or just needing a friend. Someone to listen. To be there when they are struggling, confused, sick, or just lonesome.
A real Mainer is more aware and strives to keep their life simple. The ornaments that some collect to define themselves materially are stripped away. Replaced with natural gems of our many lakes, rivers, miles of rugged rock bound sea coast line where the real value of life is found. Maine is outdoors all four seasons.
I am proud of all the kids I was lucky to be able to help guide, educate, enjoy for the brief stint they are small, growing up, under the same roof. You have to let them go and start their lives. And at the same time, have lots of freed up opportunities alone to add to my own new life adventures. With all that Maine and her outdoor drop dead natural beauty provides. I am so lucky to live in Maine full time. And not have to settle for one or maybe two weeks a year like out of staters have to get by with on just vacation visits. Maine, don’t stay away too long.