Spirit Grooves Blogs

Published on May 5, 2013

I don't know the answer to that question, except in my own case. I know what I have to do. I feel a responsibility to teach my grandkids about loving nature, and it usually starts with learning how to catch frogs. They don't call me "Froggy Grandpa" for nothin'.

As I have posted in earlier posts, two of my grandkids, Max and Molly, nicknamed me Froggy Grandpa years ago to distinguish me from their other grandpa. I was very pleased about this, because I love frogs (and all living things), but my wife Margaret was not as happy about being called "Froggy Grandma," not that she does not love frogs, but rather because she did not care to be just an "also-named."

This weekend saw a conflux of grandkids at our home here in Big Rapids, Michigan, along with three of my own kids and other respective partners. My oldest daughter Iotis was visiting with her kids Max and Molly, and my Daughter Anne (and her partner Michael Lee) was here with my youngest grandchild Emma. Many of my Facebook friends know Emma. In addition, my daughter May came down to just hang out with her sisters and see the grandkids.

Anne was here to finish up a course she has been taking to become a doula, which is someone who assists mothers in labor at childbirth, usually at home births. Some of my own kids were born at home and, for that matter, schooled at home. I am, some of you may remember, a child of the 1960s. We did stuff like that back then, and still do. Emma was born at home.

Anyway, at the top of my list of things to do with the grandkids is to catch some frogs. It so happens that my brother Phillip and his wife Carla Erlewine live just outside of town and they have their own pond in which there are frogs, turtles, fish, and so on. We had to go there with the grandkids, and so we did.

Now Max (who is entering 3rd grade this fall) was not so keen on going. He would rather play games on the computer, but his mom overruled that thought and he and his sister Molly (going into 2nd grade) came to the frog pond. In addition, there was young Emma. And as luck would have it, my brother Phil was babysitting two of his own grandkids that weekend, Asher and Haven. So there were five grandkids present in all. And it was a warm beautiful day, with a high hazy sky. We adults all sat out on the grass by the edge of the pond and watched the kids.

It's not that Max and Molly had not had the frog empowerment before, but just not lately. It can take a little time to become reacquainted with nature. Well, it didn't take long before those kids were all about that pond, and frogs were the high-ticket item. Grandpa Phil got them all little nets, although when I was a boy it was mostly a game of catch the frogs by hand.

And although the kids were careful not to get their shoes and socks wet in the beginning, the line between wet and dry began to falter. And it impacted Max most of all. First it was the taking off of his shoes and socks, followed by that first ooze of mud between the toes, probably the first time in his life. And this soon degenerated further. It was ankles, pant cuffs, and legs, soon wet, and then butt and beyond.

In the end young Max was up to his chest in water and loving it. Not only had Max had another dose of the frog empowerment, he now had the full pond empowerment. It is my firm conviction that every kid should have that empowerment, be freed from the socks and shoes, and just get wet. And his sister, who knows that what is good for Max is also good for Molly, was right in there with him.

Asher, who has spent many weekends at the pond with his own grandfather, had taken the pond empowerment long ago. He was only too eager to lead the way. And Haven and Molly soon got together and had their own kind of fun.

And so it went. Many frogs were caught, and tadpoles too. And what was caught spent some time in the pail and then were put back in the pond. In the end everyone was soaking wet, and we had been in the sun so long that sunscreen was in order, and frog catching turned into just playing in the water and throwing mud. A good time was had by all and the necessary empowerments were taken.

As for baby Emma? Emma saw her first frog and, with a little help from "Froggy Grandpa," learned to touch the frog and she let out a little happy shriek each time.

Also, I wrote a book for my grandkids called "Nature in the Backyard," which is free, here: