Princess and The Rock

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Friday, 11 July 2014

Lessons We Learnt from an Urban Picnic

Princess and The Rock love a good picnic any time, so at the beginning of the week I told them we would go for an evening picnic if the weather was good. Unfortunately it rained and that meant the ground at the park would be muddy and I wasn't exactly looking forward to more washing, especially with the pile-up of laundry after my trip. They were of course very disappointed, so I decided to go ahead with our picnic plan but an urban picnic! This idea was inspired by another homeschool mum, who regularly has picnics with her children and neighbours's children at the corridor of her flat. :)

We had our dinner, packed some snacks and water and headed to a small neighbourhood shopping mall, found a spot that was sheltered on the outside of the building, laid out our mat and had a picnic there. The evening was further enhanced by ice-cream treats from Udders, plump cherries, sweet grapes and refreshing tangerines I bought from the supermarket at the mall.

At one point, Princess muttered, "I think it's inconvenient to have our picnic here, right?" I kind of knew why she said that but I decided to save the discussion for later and enjoy the moment. We ate, we laughed, we played and we learnt.

So on the way back in the car, we resumed the discussion about whether it was appropriate to have the picnic at the location. To cut the long story short, here are our learning points:

1. Someone's reaction alone does not determine whether an action/behaviour is acceptable or not. Some people stared and others smiled but we need not be concerned as we weren't doing anything wrong per se, unusual maybe, but definitely not inappropriate. (The security guard walked past us and asked us to move my bag from the seats to my mat so I think laying the mat on the ground was OK, although ironically I've been told at Flower Dome that it's disallowed.) My point was to encourage her to act according to her clear conscience and not be swayed by opinions of others easily.

2. Do not assume. When someone stares, there could be more than one reason. Princess, being the more sensitive one, immediately felt those who took a longer glance were dissatisfied with what we did, possibly because we were blocking the way or causing some inconvenience. However, she also noticed that some looked AND smiled. So we talked about how there could be different thoughts behind the "stares". Some were possibly curious, some felt what we did was inappropriate and one or two may even be thinking "We should do this one of these days, it looks fun!" Sometimes we get affected by what we think someone is thinking about us but our guess might be furthest from the truth and we get depressed or upset over nothing.

3. We shouldn't be afraid to do something that's not been attempted or unusual (unless, of course it's illegal, morally wrong or would pose a great deal of discomfort to others). It's usual to have picnics at the parks but not so common in urban settings. However, sometimes when "the mood strikes", it can be tiring just to think about carrying all the barang barang and spend 45 minutes to get to the park for an hour's picnic. So despite an urban picnic being unusual, we managed to have a great evening because we went ahead with it. We also talked about how in the future it can be difficult for Princess and The Rock to make some decisions that are unorthodox and how they can decide what to do.

A simply planned picnic resulted in important life lessons. So go out and lay your mat and enjoy life for what it is, on a carpet of grass or cement floor speckled with dust!

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