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The Rainy Day Lesson
Teachings of a 3 year old.

by Hal Evan Caplan
February 12, 2007

Ahh, those rainy days... If a rainy day happens to fall on a holiday or weekend, the obvious answer to adults before the question is ever asked is, to "stay inside and keep dry!" Of course once the answer is determined, at least in my adult head, is the exact moment when I am challenged by my "teacher"... again. My "teacher" is my 3-year old son. His views are far different than mine. When I least expect it, he swoops in and reveals what it is that I am to learn from him.

Sometimes, it's a whole lot easier to just give in and listen to the request of the 3 year old teacher, rather than to deal with hours of screaming and headaches. Sometimes, the 3-year does know best and in my case ends up teaching me a lesson in the end. It's always interesting for to me to see how my teacher's view changes. His requests seem to start out as "I" or "I want" or, "Daddy, I want to?" and it always ends up as, "Daddy let's..." Once he spurts this out, I have become part of the equation.

Even if my first response is "no", which apparently is not the correct answer, he sets plans "B thru D" into action. These plans include the following: Plan " B" - jumping on top of me and breaking the relaxed state that I was just enjoying; Plan " C" - wedging his head in the lower part of my back, bracing his feet on the back of the couch and pushing with all of his might, and Plan "D" - once on the floor; grabbing my arm and tugging me in the direction of the door - all the while expressing to me that his idea is not only a great idea, but the only idea. Since I am on the floor, I obviously have two choices. I can get up, sit back on the couch and go through the same series of "attacks" until I say yes, or I just listen now and get it over with. I reluctantly chose to go outside in the rain.

As I open the garage to get a better view of the situation outside, I see that it is raining even harder than I originally thought and before I can say anything my teacher is expressing his excitement by yelling, "Come on... come on... come on, Dad, lets go!" Apparently his mother is in on it because when I turned around to suggest "ANYTHING ELSE BUT THIS", my teacher was already dressed in his rain gear, ready to go outside and she just standing behind him with a smirk on her face.

The entire time that I am getting my rain gear on, I am vocalizing, quite loud mind you, that I am NOT looking forward to willingly standing in the pouring rain. As I stand there at the edge of the garage, where the dry meets the wet wall of rain, I say to myself, "okay on 3... 2... 1... rain time".

Once out there, I stood like on bump on a log watching him running and jumping and playing in the rain. Thoughts started racing through my head. Thoughts like, "I hope that he doesn't get those fairly new shoes all wet!", "How much longer do I have to endure this?", "Great, now his new sweats will get muddy!", and "How many days is it supposed to rain"? At that moment my thought process was broken and without realizing what was actually happening, my teacher was starting the lesson.

"Come on Dad, play!" He screams.

"Play, what do you mean, play? IT'S RAINING!" I express not beliving what I'm hearing.

"PLAYYYY!" He demands.

"Play, what?" I ask.

"Play, DRAGON LONG, and chase me." (American Dragon is one of his favorite TV shows.)

"Ya know", I blurt out. "I'm really not in the... "

In mid-sentence I was interrupted by a WHACK to the back of my leg from my teacher who was already in DRAGON LONG character. Then, he gave me another WHACK to the other leg, and finally demanded that I chase him. I was going to chase him alright, and when I catch him, he'll be sorry that he kicked me!

I began to chase my teacher. We ran back and fourth all over the neighborhood. I had no idea of the amount of time that passed. I couldn't tell if it was 5, 10, 15 minutes or even 30 minutes. As I found out later, we ended up playing DRAGON LONG chase for over an hour, in the pouring rain, laughing the entire time. I can't even count the number of puddles that we ran through or tripped into. My concerns from earlier had been long forgotten. Both of our shoes and sweats where soaking wet and dripping with mud. The DRAGON LONG game ended when my teacher was a little tired and was ready to go inside. We were a half-block away from the house when he asked me to pick him up. As we walked toward the house and as he wiped the mud splatter from my nose, I noticed that not one other kid or parent was outside playing in the rain, and this is a neighborhood full of kids his age.

The lesson ended when my teacher said those unforgettable five words.

"See Dad wasn't that fun"? He asked.

"That was a blast." I replied. His face lit up and his smile spoke volumes.

He was right, it was fun and I actually did enjoy being in the pouring rain once I started to play. Next time it rains, maybe I'll be the one that asks him to play outside.

In a nutshell, the lesson that I learned that day is: You are never too old to play in the rain with your kids!

About the Author:
Originally from Colorado; now residing in Alabama. Hal is married and has a son. Hal loves the outdoors and is always willing to learn...and of course, always learns from his son.

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