Sometimes at the Children’s Museum, we have moments where we just shout out, “I LOVE KIDS!” Victoria and her dad visited our Daily Digs program for the second time on Thursday. Victoria ran out into the garden after the announcement and shouted, “Hi, my name is Victoria!” to which I replied, “I know! I remember you when we harvested sweet potatoes!”
Flooding my memory was the Thursday afternoon two weeks prior when Victoria and her dad harvested 20 pounds of sweet potatoes with another mom and her three daughters. The four girls fiercely dug their hands into the soil, without regard to their clothing or clean skin. By the end, covered in soil, all four girls where singing a melody-less tune “team work, team work, team work.”
Today Victoria rejoined with the same sort of spirit that few people other than five-year-olds have, ready to work on whatever we had for her to do. We started by harvesting amaranth grain, an ancient plant first cultivated in South America. It is one of two grains that are complete proteins and the only one which grows in our zone. When the little seeds falling into the bowl piqued her interest, she asked about eating it.
“Do you like rice?” I asked.
“Oh yes I do!” and so we ran over to our rice crop and noticing her very small fingers and even smaller fingernails I came up with a solution, a hammer! Not many five-year-olds have used a hammer but with care and commitment Victoria opened up one rice grain hull after another. When she finished she said, “Ok, now I need to go inside to play.”
We have the capacity for enjoying the meticulous work of growing food, of team work, and of constant play. If only we all had five-year-olds like Victoria to remind all of us that we should always be bounding to the next opportunity, announcing our presence and excited for the practice of new things.