When they walk along our road, or round the park or through the woods – my children always find a stick to carry with them.
Depending on its length, and size and straightness, a stick can be many things…
It can be a spoon for stirring a witch’s brew or mud pie mixture simmering away in a tree stump cauldron.
It can be a skewer for toasting leaf ‘marshmallows’ round a campfire inside a willow wigwam den.
It can be a fairy wand for weaving a magic spell or a giant pencil for learning how to spell in the soil or the sand.
It can be a divining rod for showing us which path leads to adventure.
More often than not it is a mallet for tapping out a tune on railings, tree trunks and lamp-posts, but never, ever cars.
Knowing that little ears will be deaf to the word ‘don’t’, I am always careful to teach good stickmanship with positive instructions:
“Point it away from you.”
“Walk with the stick.”
“Put the stick down while you climb that tree.”
A stick may have become parted from its tree forever but in a child’s hand it lives again.
It’s never ‘time to go home’ but ‘time to find a good stick for the journey’.