Watching the Oak Grow


We can’t of course. It’s time scale is so different to ours that we would have to invest  a large proportion of our own existence to see the subtle changes time shows in the newly budding acorn. Where we able to do so, we would see it grow in its unique and programmed way, influenced in part by where the seed has fallen, but largely by the genetic blue print stored in its DNA.

No one would say of the young tree, “Little oaks should be seen and not heard”, or  “you can’t greet the dawn until you’ve washed your leaves properly.” Once the seed hits the ground it’s on its own and must survive its fate as nature allows.

No one ever asks their children what they thought of the way you bought them up in case you’re arrested under the Failure to buy Sweets and Toys Act 1837 , but the question of nature versus nurture continues to intrigue me. Like us all I wonder what the purpose of life is, or whether there is any purpose .

With children things are somewhat different. A lady we met was talking about the way her mother used to dress her before she went out to play with the other children.  The dress sounded so formal that I thought to myself that she could hardly roll around on the ground, climb trees or just let herself go in the normal innocent unselfconcious manner we associate with childhood. She seemed more than a child: she was also  on display and a comparison point for her mother with regard to the other mothers and the passing judgement of strangers.

It is important for children to learn to mix well in a social setting but also to discover something about their strengths and what opportunities they may offer them or so it seems to me. The Albanian, I know, withholds the choicer cuts of goat from his offspring unless they tidy their tents in the prescribed manner. Whats interesting is that we keep arguing with ourselves and each other through aeons of time on the best way forward, no doubt starting with discussions over the suitable bedtime for toddlers around some forgotten fire in the cave dwellings of Mongolia

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About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in character, childhood, community, creative writing, Life and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Watching the Oak Grow

  1. I was intetested in your observations about Mongolia. Is it true that cave-dwellings can be still bought there quite cheaply? I have recently become hopeless and would be happy to learn about goat-eating. p.s. Why are the Samaritans always engaged when you call?

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    • I understand those with satellite television facilities are rising in price but the others remain pleasingly affordable as you say. Should you wish to buy one, packing a thick coat is advisable. The weather can be challenging in the winter and even the best caves are still without a door I believe

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  2. barbara says:

    When I was a child my mother used to dress me up in frilly clothes and make me sit with the adults so I wouldn’t get dirty. I’m sure that’s why I never could relate to children. One day while visiting my aunt in Georgia I was sitting in a frilly little number with white lace sox and patent leather mary janes. My cousins were outside playing in the red Georgia clay after a summer rainstorm.

    My aunt was upset that I couldn’t go outside and decided it was time. She picked me up, in all my finery, and took me outside… plopped me in the middle of a mud puddle! I thought my mother would have a stroke! I have to admit, I didn’t enjoy it so much but I think my mother got the message.
    b

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  3. Texasjune says:

    You’ve written a rather complex post, Ducky. I’ll get my popcorn … 🙂

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  4. I was just saying yesterday that by the time we figure out how we should have raised our children, they are grown and it’s too late. I wonder why wisdom comes to us after we need it…

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  5. Caroline says:

    Tents should always be kept tidy especially at this time of year – otherwise it’s a case of

    Now is the winter of our discontent!

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  6. Kirri White says:

    Such a lot going on in this post and as usual, I didn’t want it to end so soon.
    As a kid, I used to always tell stories about trees to my BFF – I would look at them, touch their trunks and try and get a ‘feel’ for their story – if they were happy, what kind of things they had seen in their long existence…..it seems a bit weird to me now but I’m happy that I was encouraged to roam in nature and am reminded that I need to do it more often now.

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  7. backonmyown says:

    I’m smitten by the title of this piece. And the rest of it, too, of course. When I was growing up I was personal friends with a number of oaks. Clad in jeans and worn-out shirts, I was allowed to climb and hide among their branches. They never complained and I never told their secrets. A perfect friendship. Great post, Ducks.

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  8. Were you just reading my mind? I was thinking the exact same thing – not of the Albanians of course but the argument over the silliest of things when it comes to nurturing and raising our children. I blame it all on Freud!

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  9. Tilly Bud says:

    I wonder if that woman was a first child? I did so much to my first child that never happened to my second. I love them equally but I was more relaxed second time around.

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  10. You definitely have a point but I think of it a little bit differently. I can remember my mom telling me “Kids are to be seen not heard before” but she would only tell me that when older people were discussing issues. At home, she would always encourage me to ask questions, speak my mind, and be strong. I think by teaching me to be quiet in front of people, it taught me to listen. And one must definitely learn to listen as well as speak their mind.

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  11. Karen says:

    I’ve just discovered your refreshing and thought provoking blog. I’ll return.

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  12. I absolutely loved this post. I found myself nodding in agreement all the way through. I completely agree with your analysis that children should be left to be children. Roll around, get dirty etc. I do believe that some parents feel that if they’re child is immaculately dressed, that it will somehow reflect what a “good parent” they are. Somehow mask their inadequacies. Unfortunately oaks take longer to grow than children do. Children don’t keep. All we can do is try our best to guide them without inhibiting their growth (whilse maintaining our sanity all at the same time).

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  13. eof737 says:

    Parenting and raising children is such a minefield with camps everywhere. If we could just listen to the little ones from time to time, it would be a great help. I was one of those kids who wasn’t allowed to eat sweets at Birthday parties because my nutrition conscious mom felt birthday food was all garbage… but she was missing a vital point; it’s also a celebration of life so chill out! Great post. 😉
    TY for your patience as I have been adjusting to a changed schedule … Glad to comment again. 🙂

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  14. backonmyown says:

    Good to know you’re still there, Ducks.

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