It is true, the best classroom in the world is the world. Though books are great for growing young minds, I strongly believe that children (and adults) need to go out there to the world they live in to feel the lessons.
The best teacher is often the parent. What my parents taught me all those decades ago still reverberated strongly in me. And indeed, my biology teacher, Mrs Jenny Woods who took the class out on field trips to Harting and Stoughton.
And so I am back here again, walking in my beloved Hampshire, far from the madding crowd.
Amongst the golden ripeness, we came across a field where its entire crop of broad beans were devastated by the hot summer we are having.
“Oh no,” I said, with feeling. I remember what my father told me about his childhood: he had grown up in a farm, and one summer, a whole field of crop was ruined, with just one blade standing. A lone tear rolled down my father’s cheek, all those decades later.
“What happened, Jacqueline?” Little Berti asked. He slipped his tiny hand in mine. The youngest of the triplets, he was particularly in tune with my emotions.
“The sun, it destroyed this whole field. There was no rain, so the plants burned.”
“Why didn’t the farmer water his plants?” Christian asked.
“Because the cost of watering this large field, so far from a water source, would cost more than his crop.”
“Let’s pick the alive ones to eat,” Alex said.
And with the wisdom of an old soul, Berti (named after Umberto Ecco) said firmly, “We will take the seeds home to plant them, so that they may grow again next year.”
My heart soared at those words for this is the most precious lesson of all, that life is kindness and cruelty, good times and bad times, but we must have hope always ❤
Drying the seeds in the sun for next season, may God bless us: