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The Water Lesson

Teachings of a Child

by Hal Evan Caplan
February 23, 2013

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The Water Lesson

My teacher is a very active child. I've said it before and I'll say it again, he has two modes; 1000 miles per hour or asleep. Being as active as he is, he enjoys the outdoors more than anything. If he is not riding his bike, skateboarding, scooting (push scooter), playing baseball, karate, running around playing some sort of chase game with his friends or some other outdoor activity that I missed, then like I mentioned, he is probably in bed asleep.

We live near Oak Mountain State Park, which offers a large variety of options for the outdoor enthusiast. On this day, we hiked with a group of new friends. One of the ladies on the hike brought her dog, which was fine with my teacher since he loves animals, especially dogs. If you ask him what his favorite kind of dog is, he will simply reply, "yes", which I have learned means any and all dogs. Upon the start of the hike, our lady friend had her dog walking in front of her on a leash as we followed the trail into the alpine terrain. Shortly thereafter, I turned around to check on my wife and teacher who started out on the same pace. In true form, my teacher had the leash and he was walking the dog. Actually, since the dog was much bigger than he was, the dog was really walking him. Pulling him is more like it.

The hike lasted a few hours and my teacher had an excellent workout being pulled via the leash the entire hike. He was worn out and sweaty. At the end of the hike he was given a bath, but not in the typical sense. His new best friend showed my teacher how much he appreciated being walked by licking him like he was a piece of candy. We said our good-byes to our new friends and headed home. In the truck, on the ride home my wife immediately planted the seed in my teacher's head that he would need to take a shower as soon as he walked in the house. Apparently he didn't feel that he was too dirty and asked if the shower could wait.

"Dad, l was hoping to wait until later to take my bath." He explained.

"Why later? You are filthy now." I pointed out.

"Filthy? I thought filthy meant very dirty." He inquired.

"It does and you are filthy." I expressed.

"But dad, I don't see any dirt on me anywhere." He voiced.

I couldn't help but chuckle at that comment, so much so that I could not continue my conversation with him. Then my wife chimed in and started where I left off as I giggled in silence.

"You are filthy." She began. "You were running around and getting all sweaty, grimy from the leaves and dirt on the trails and then the dog licked you for head to foot." She reminded him.

"Oh-yeah." He mumbled.

"Uh-hugh." She got out with a big sigh as she turned back around to face the front. She looked over at me, shook her head and chuckled as well and mouthed the word, "unbelievable".

As we pulled in to our neighborhood she reminded him to take shower immediately upon entering the house. The truck came to a stop in the driveway. He jumped out and raced inside. My wife and I gathered the items out of the truck, from the hike, and we walked in to the house. I was certain that my teacher would be hiding somewhere instead of taking a shower since he loved to play hide-and-seek in the house with us. Fortunately, I heard the water running and heard the sound of him singing. Yes, he loves to sing in the shower. I knew he was in the shower scrubbing himself clean, but a lesson to be learned was the last thing on my mind.

My wife and I walked up the stairs toward our bedroom so we could change out of our hiking clothes and into our lounge-around-the-house clothes. Just as we passed my teachers bathroom the shower stopped. My wife and I paused and looked at each other. She made the comment to me that there was no way he was done that quickly since he basically just got in.

Even though the water had stopped, my teachers singing did not. Then, just as I was about to walk into his bathroom to see why his shower had only lasted what seemed to be one minute, he answered our question. He must have heard my wife and me just outside the door because he yelled out to us.

"Mom...Dad?" He yelled.

She and I answered one after another with a, "yes."

"I'm not done." He stated.

"What are you doing?" I questioned.

"I turned off the water while I soap up." He explained.

"Why?" I asked as I spoke to the door.

"So I wouldn't waste water." He countered.

My wife and I looked at each other and we just shook our heads in disbelief.

My wife replied back in a loud voice, so he could hear, "that is so awesome of you and so very smart."

A "thank you" echoed in the hall way through the door.

My wife and I continued to our bedroom and we changed in to some comfortable clothes. We went downstairs and sat on the couch to relax. Soon thereafter my teacher appeared clean as a whistle. My wife again expressed how awesome it was that he did what he did with the water. Both my wife and I expressed how proud of him we were. She and I then gave him a sandwich hug. A teacher sandwich if you will.

Once the hug concluded my teacher looked at me and said, "Dad you know, we need to learn how to control our water supply."

"You mean we need to conserve our water supply, which means to save and protect it." I explained.

"That too." He grinned.

In a nutshell, the lesson that I was reminded of that day was: Don't waste our precious resources.

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Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke
Published September 28, 2010

A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.

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